Workers at Barts vote for strike action to demand pay justice and safe staffing
- Wednesday 23 August 2023
NHS workers vote for a campaign of industrial action by a margin of 95 per cent
Barts Health NHS Trust accused of short changing some of the lowest paid workers at the Trust
NHS workers at Barts Health NHS Trust have overwhelmingly voted for a campaign of industrial action today by a margin of 95 per cent in a dispute over low pay and safe staffing.
The workers and their representatives will meet over the coming days to agree strike dates.
Last year Unite activists and union reps secured a landmark agreement which transferred 1800 workers to NHS employment. The cleaners, caterers, porters, security guards, ward hosts and domestic staff had previously been employed by Serco.
But over 1,000 workers who transferred onto NHS terms after 31 March 2023 “are up in arms” that Barts won’t pay them a £1,655 lump sum which is part of the NHS pay deal.
To make matters even worse, a significant number of workers are losing money due to the way the NHS disregarded their length of service while employed by Serco and attempts by Barts to pay workers inferior overtime rates.
On a day-to-day basis, the workforce has to contend with the worst staffing crisis in NHS history. Over stretched and overworked, they are calling on Barts and the UK Government to address the chronic shortages blighting their hospitals.
Unite general secretary, Sharon Graham said: “The workers at Barts are up in arms over the Trust’s failure to pay them a lump sum which was agreed as part of the NHS pay deal. They’re rightly refusing to be short-changed.”
“The workforce won its rights to be NHS workers, now they’re planning a campaign of strike action to combat low pay and understaffing at the Trust.”
A survey of over 3,000 Unite members, working in a multitude of roles throughout the NHS in England, revealed that 48 per cent said that in the past year staffing levels in their area regularly reached a point where “patient care has been compromised and unsafe”.
Unite regional officer, Tabusam Ahmed said: “Barts has chosen to continue to do wrong by these workers who have been underpaid for over a decade. Therefore, Unite members at Barts are taking a stand - they’ve had enough of low pay.”
“It’s time for the Trust to enter into meaningful negotiations or face a tireless campaign of action from this irrepressible workforce.”
Contact: Ciaran Naidoo 07768 931 315