East London NHS Foundation Trust workers to strike

Unite members across the NHS continue to fight for health service’s future

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Nearly 400 East London NHS Foundation Trust workers have voted to strike over pay and safe staffing levels, Unite said today (July 26).

The workers, from a wide number of professions and roles and based across numerous East London NHS Foundation Trust sites, will join 800 of their colleagues at Guys and St Thomas’ in industrial action to save the health service.

Over 1,000 workers employed at Barts Health NHS Trust are also currently being balloted for industrial action, with the result due on August 22.

All of the workers are suffering the effects of the worst staffing crisis in NHS history. Overstretched and underpaid, they are calling on the government to address the chronic shortages blighting their hospitals.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “The NHS’ crisis in recruiting and retaining staff continues to spiral downwards and is impacting both patient care and the remaining workers. Until the chronically low wages of NHS workers are addressed by the government, the problems overwhelming the health service will become ever more severe.

“Unite is unrelenting when it comes to our members’ jobs, pay and conditions and all our NHS workers striking to save the health service will receive their union’s absolute support.”

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”.

As well as Guys and St Thomas’, East London NHS Foundation Trust and the looming ballot at Barts, Unite members at Blackpool NHS Teaching Hospital and the Yorkshire Ambulance Service are also involved in industrial action.

Unite is building a campaign to demand safe staffing levels right across the NHS, including taking industrial action.

Unite national lead officer Onay Kasab added, “The government’s decade long attack on wages has pushed the health service to brink and is risking patients’ lives. Our members will not stop fighting until we have an NHS that is fit for purpose.”

By Ryan Fletcher