Leicester healthcare staff will strike in row over pay

Hundreds of healthcare assistants at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust (UHL) will be taking strike action in a row over pay, says UNISON.

Across the Trust, 94.46% of those balloted backed strike action. Healthcare support workers at Leicester General Hospital, Glenfield Hospital and Leicester Royal Infirmary are set to walk out unless hospital managers improve an offer on back pay.

According to NHS guidance, healthcare assistants on salary band 2 of the Agenda for Change pay scale should only be providing personal care, such as bathing and feeding patients. However, most of the healthcare assistants have routinely undertaken clinical tasks, such as taking blood, performing electrocardiogram tests and inserting cannulas, says UNISON.

UHL have accepted staff perform the more complex duties and have offered to move them up to salary band 3. However, they are refusing to fairly compensate the healthcare support workers for their underpaid work and meet the union’s demand of back pay covering the period to 2018.

UNISON have offered dispute resolution talks at ACAS; this offer has though not yet been accepted by UHL.

The dates that Healthcare Support Workers will take strike action are:

07:00 on Thursday 11 April 2024 to 07:00 on Saturday 13 April 2024 (48hrs)

07:00 on Monday 15 April 2024 to 07:00 on Wednesday 17 April 2024 (48hrs)

07:00 on Thursday 25 April 2024 to 07:00 on Saturday 27 April 2024 (48hrs)

07:00 on Wednesday 1 May 2024 to 07:00 on Saturday 4 May 2024 (72hrs)

07:00 on Tuesday 7 May 2024 to 07:00 on Wednesday 8 May 2024 (24hrs)

UNISON East Midlands head of health Gareth Eales said: “Healthcare support staff want to continue providing exceptional care to people across Leicester. However, our members are being forced into taking industrial action. The vast majority of these staff have been working well above their salary band for years. It’s time the Trust did the right thing and compensated them properly for that historic work.

“Health workers have sent consistent clear messages of the type of resolution they want. UNISON would encourage UHL to accept our offer of talks at ACAS to find a compromise. Should an acceptable offer be made, we would put that to our members to consider and call off this strike action.”

Katarzyna, a healthcare assistant at Leicester Royal Infirmary said: “The current back pay offer does not adequately compensate healthcare assistants for the years they worked without being paid properly. All we are asking for is to be fairly paid for the work we have done. No one wants to strike, but staff are determined to get what they deserve.”

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