Electricians and plumbers work-to-rule at two north we...

Electricians and plumbers work-to-rule at two north west NHS trusts over ‘losing £3,500-a-year’

23 March 2016

Electricians and plumbers working at two NHS trusts in the north west are working to rule and banning overtime from this weekend in long-running disputes which have resulted in them losing about £3,500-a-year.

Maintenance staff working for Sodexo Healthcare Services at the Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, and Southport & Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust are angry at the withdrawal of the recruitment and retention premia (RRP), which is aimed at keeping skilled staff in the NHS where there are shortages of required skills in particular areas.

The continuous work-to-rule, ban on overtime and ban on out-of-hours call-outs are due to start at both trusts at 00.01 on Saturday 26 March. There are about 20 maintenance staff working at each trust.

Unite regional officer Keith Hutson said: “The managements of both organisations are like ostriches and have kept their respective heads in the sand. These disputes have been brewing for the last two years, but the managements have refused to discuss this issue with Unite.

“The reason that the RRP was included in the long standing Agenda for Change agreement was to ensure that the NHS retained the skilled people it needed in areas where there were shortages in professions and trades.

“The industrial action will have an accumulative effect on services. For example, if there is a flooding in a ward from a burst pipe, it won’t be dealt with as promptly as normal.

“Since the managements have withdrawn the RRP it has meant that our members are losing about £3,500-a-year which is a large slice of their income because of this penny-pinching attitude.

“If they had this RRP their salary would be about £28,000 – but is now dropping below £25,000 since the RRP was withdrawn several years ago.

“We have found that an apprentice gas fitter, electrician or plumber in the final year of an industry scheme is getting £2 an hour more than our members at the top of their scale after 25 years’ dedicated service in the NHS.

“We call for talks with the bosses of these two organisations under the auspices of the conciliation service, Acas to resolve these disputes in a timely and constructive manner.”

The hospitals that will be affected are: Ormskirk and District General Hospital; Southport and Formby District Hospital; and the hospitals covered by the central Manchester trust.


Notes to editors:

For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Email: 

  • Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.