About 25 NHS maintenance staff employed at Aintree University Hospital in Liverpool started six days of strike action today (Wednesday 28 May) in the continuing dispute over a ‘£3,200 loss of wages’.
Electricians, plumbers, technicians and maintenance staff - members of Unite, the country’s largest union - started their strike at 06.30 today which will run until 06.30 Tuesday 3 June.
The crux of the dispute goes back to April 2013 when the national recruitment and retention payment in place since 2004 and designed to ensure that NHS maintenance staff received wages comparable to outside industry was unilaterally removed, with the proviso that local employers negotiated their own deals.
This has not been possible at Aintree University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust which has meant that the maintenance staff have lost nearly 20 per cent of their income – about £3,200 – which would be additional to their basic pay of £19,000- 22,000 a year.
The staff are working-to-rule and have already taken strike action earlier this month in pursuit of their claim for a fair deal. They had voted overwhelmingly for industrial action.
Unite regional officer, Keith Hutson said: “It is a scandal that these workers, providing vital hospital maintenance, are losing £3,200-a-year from their pay as the cost of living crisis continues unabated.
“Many of our members are struggling to make ends meet. They are skilled workers who are not earning a fortune.
“The strike won’t affect patient care, however, it is causing disruption at the hospital as it means that managers are being forced to cover for our members and work out-of-hours.
“Unite has had talks with the trust management and our door remains open for a constructive dialogue to ensure that our hardworking members are not out-of-pocket.”
For further information please contact Unite regional officer Keith Hutson on 07798 531005 and/or Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 07768 693940 and/or the Unite press office on 020 3371 2065.
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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