Hospital staff in Kettering, Leicester and Northampton walk out for three days over pay

Hundreds of healthcare support workers at Kettering General, Leicester General, Leicester Royal Infirmary, Glenfield, and Northampton General hospitals have begun the first of three days of strike action today (Tuesday).

The Trusts that oversee the five hospitals are all led by the same chief executive, Richard Mitchell, who has failed to come up with a credible offer following recent talks with the independent arbitration service Acas, says UNISON.

Healthcare assistants in Leicester have been involved in industrial action for several months, with colleagues in Kettering and Northampton joining the coordinated strike action for the first time.

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.

UNISON is campaigning for healthcare assistants to be regraded to salary band 3 alongside appropriate back pay compensation.

UNISON East Midlands regional secretary Chris Jenkinson said: “It’s time for the chief executive to realise these NHS workers are in no mood to back down. He should make the healthcare assistants a reasonable offer that addresses years of historical pay inequality.”

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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