Security staff at Southampton General Hospital, who are being attacked in the A&E department, will go ahead with a second day of strike action on Good Friday (19 April).

Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union, said today (Wednesday 17 April) that talks yesterday (Tuesday 16 April) with the employer Mitie Security Ltd made progress, but not sufficient for the strike to be called off.

Unite lead officer for health in the south east Scott Kemp said: “We had talks with Mitie yesterday and some progress was made, but it was not sufficient for our members to suspend their Good Friday strike.”

National media attention has focused on the plight of the 21 security staff, who are being attacked on a regular basis by members of the public either under the influence of drink or drugs, or with mental health problems. There has been a lack of adequate personal protective equipment (PPE), such as stab vests and safety restraints.

Scott Kemp added: “The company has increased its offer to £9.50 an hour, but our members are seeking £10.50 for security officers and £12.16 for supervisors for what is generally acknowledged to be a stressful and, on occasions, dangerous job.

“The company made no new offer on unsocial hours payments for weekend working and there was also no increase in sick pay forthcoming.

“However, most PPE issues are resolved pending further talks with the University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust.

“We have consulted with our members overnight and while there has been some progress with the company inching towards our position, it was considered that not enough ground had been made to justify calling off the strike on Good Friday.

“That said, Unite’s door remains open for constructive talks 24/7 over this Easter holiday period.”

The security staff voted unanimously for strike action and industrial action short of a strike. A 48 hour stoppage starting on 3 May, a 24 hour strike on 24 May and a further 72 hour strike on 7 June are scheduled. All the strikes will start at 00.01. The first day’s strike action was taken on 5 April.
Notes to editors: 

There will be a picket line will between 07:00 – 14:00 on Good Friday at the Tremona Road entrance, Southampton General Hospital SO16 6YD

At present, if the security staff are injured at work, and if the resulting investigation finds in their favour, they get two weeks’ full pay and then two weeks’ half-pay. After that, it is the statutory minimum.
What Unite wants is enhanced sickness payments for those off work due to being injured protecting patients and hospital staff; proper and transparent investigations into all attacks; and members having the necessary personal protective equipment.
The union is seeking six months full-pay, followed by six months half-pay for all sickness absences.
Unite said that the demand for an increase in pay from the current £8.64 an hour reflects the continuing stress of the job. The security staff are seeking £10.50 for security officers and £12.16 for supervisors, with additional payments of 50p per hour on night rates; £1 an hour on Saturday and double time on Sunday.

The link to the petition supporting the security staff can be found via:

For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Unite press office is on:  020 3371 2065
Email: [email protected]

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