'This dispute needs to be resolved sensibly'

NHS delivery drivers ballot for strike action over low pay

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NHS drivers who make nationwide hospital deliveries are being balloted for strike action over low pay, Unite said today (October 18).

Unite warned that the around 200 HGV and van drivers, who are employed by Unipart on the outsourced contract and deliver general equipment and supplies, could leave their roles for better paid positions elsewhere.

“Unipart’s poor pay levels is risking not only industrial action but the possibility of the workers leaving these crucial roles for higher paid driving work,” commented Unite national officer Matt Draper.

“Nobody wants this dispute to escalate, especially not our members, but Unipart must recognise their contribution during the pandemic and ensure they are paid the proper rate for the job. Unipart’s current derisory pay offer simply does not cut it,” he added.

The ballot for strike action opened last week and will close on November 5.

Unite has urged Unipart, which is contracted by government-owned Supply Chain Coordination Limited (SCCL), to table a better offer during talks scheduled with the conciliation-service Acas on October 22.

“Unite is doing everything possible to avoid the chance of industrial action and has agreed to Acas hoping that we see some meaningful movement from Unipart,” added Draper.

“Our members are simply looking for a deal that reflects the hard work they do. This dispute needs to be resolved sensibly, which is why Unite is urging SCCL to intervene and compel Unipart to table an offer that reflects our members’ worth.”

By Ryan Fletcher

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