NHS workers at four London NHS Trusts will take strike action next month in a dispute over safe staffing and pay.

The workers, who are members of Unite, the UK’s leading union, are employed at Barts Health NHS Trust, Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Trust, East London Foundation Trust and Guys and St Thomas’. Over 2,800 workers will be involved in the strikes including nurses, pathologists, cleaners, caterers, porters and ancillary roles.

Staff shortages

The dispute is a result of workers experiencing staff shortages, which have reached such a dangerous level that they risk the health of patients and threaten staff welfare. A recent survey of Unite NHS members revealed that 48 per cent said during the past year staffing levels in their areas regularly reached a point where “patient care has been compromised and unsafe”. For workers in frontline roles these figures rose to 57 per cent.

Allied to the safe staffing crisis, the workers are also striking about low pay. Unite members voted to reject the government’s pay deal, as it amounted to yet another real terms pay cut. In addition, over 1,000 workers at Barts are in dispute as they failed to receive the £1,655 lump sum payment, which was part of the NHS pay settlement for 2022/23, due to having previously been outsourced to Serco and only in recent months brought back into the NHS.

Patients at risk

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “NHS employers must stop sweeping the staffing crisis under the carpet. Hospitals are so short of staff that patients are frequently being put at risk. Until the fundamental causes of low pay and impossible working conditions are resolved, the problem is only going to get worse.”

The workers at the various trusts will be striking on different days:

Strike dates

The Barts workers will be on strike from 13-14 September and then from 16 – 22 September. Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Trust workers will strike from 13-14 September. East London Foundation Trust workers will strike on 13 September and Guys and St Thomas’ workers on 13-14 September.

The strike action is an initial phase and if NHS managers fail to act on Unite’s concerns then strikes are set to intensify and other trusts across the UK are likely to join the dispute.

Workers ignored

Unite national lead officer Onay Kasab said: “The strike action will cause disruption and delays at the NHS Trusts but our members can’t take anymore. They have been raising serious concerns about staff levels for years but have been met by a wall of disdain and indifference.”


 For media enquiries ONLY please contact Unite senior communications advisor Barckley Sumner on 07802 329235.

Email: [email protected]

Unite is the UK and Ireland’s leading union fighting to protect and advance jobs, pay and conditions for members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Sharon Graham.