Today's top stories...London NHS workers to strike
Workers at four London NHS Trusts to strike over safe staffing and pay crisis
Reading time: 5 min
NHS workers at four London NHS Trusts will take strike action next month in a dispute over safe staffing and pay.
The workers, who are members of Unite are employed at Barts Health NHS Trust, Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Trust, East London Foundation Trust and Guys and St Thomas’. Over 2,800 workers will be involved in the strikes including nurses, pathologists, cleaners, caterers, porters and ancillary roles.
The dispute is a result of workers experiencing staff shortages, which have reached such a dangerous level that they risk the health of patients and threaten staff welfare. A recent survey of Unite NHS members revealed that 48 per cent said during the past year staffing levels in their areas regularly reached a point where “patient care has been compromised and unsafe”. For workers in frontline roles these figures rose to 57 per cent.
Allied to the safe staffing crisis, the workers are also striking about low pay. Unite members voted to reject the government’s pay deal, as it amounted to yet another real terms pay cut. In addition, over 1,000 workers at Barts are in dispute as they failed to receive the £1,655 lump sum payment, which was part of the NHS pay settlement for 2022/23, due to having previously been outsourced to Serco and only in recent months brought back into the NHS.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “NHS employers must stop sweeping the staffing crisis under the carpet. Hospitals are so short of staff that patients are frequently being put at risk. Until the fundamental causes of low pay and impossible working conditions are resolved, the problem is only going get worse.”
The workers at the various trusts will be striking on different days:
The Barts workers will be on strike from 13-14 September and then from 16 – 22 September. Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Trust workers will strike from 13-14 September. East London Foundation Trust workers will strike on 13 September and Guys and St Thomas’ workers on 13-14 September.
The strike action is an initial phase and if NHS managers fail to act on Unite’s concerns then strikes are set to intensify and other trusts across the UK are likely to join the dispute.
Cambridge University workers fight for better pay deal
Essential workers at Cambridge University are balloting for industrial action after the university cut their pay in real terms.
One of the world’s most prestigious institutes of learning, the university is only offering between a five and six per cent increase. With RPI currently sitting at nine per cent that represents a real terms pay cut of at least three per cent. Unite’s members are demanding above-inflation rises to cope with the cost of living in one of the most expensive parts of the UK outside London.
450 members working in the university library, the department of engineering, estate management, the Fitzwilliam Museum and information services will be balloted over industrial action.
The ballot opens on Tuesday 5 September and closes on Monday 9 October. Should it be successful, strike action is expected to commence in late October 2023, coinciding with students returning for the Michaelmas term.
Unite general secretary, Sharon Graham, commented, “For over a decade Cambridge University has been offering below inflation pay rises and our members have had enough. It might be a prestigious university, but that doesn’t put food on the table or pay the bills of essential workers doing vital roles across the university.”
“Our members will have the full support of Unite as they stand up to their employer and demand a fair pay deal.”
Compiled by UniteLive team