Arrowe Park hospital workers increase strike action over pay and grading

Healthcare workers at Arrowe Park Hospital are escalating their strikes next week over a “continued failure to recognise” their workplace responsibilities and pay them accordingly.

Members of Unite, the UK’s leading union, who work as recovery theatre practitioners, who care for patients recovering from serious operations, are not being paid appropriately by their employer, the Wirral University Hospital Trust.

Workers will walk out from 1-7 July.

The vital healthcare workers are being paid a band below the level of responsibility and duties they are providing. Workers have been left up to £8,000 out of pocket due to being wrongly graded.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “It is a disgrace that an NHS employer is refusing to acknowledge the hard work our members are doing and the vital care they provide to patients. The Wirral Trust must immediately do the right thing and pay our members the proper rate for the job.”

Staff are not only suffering financially but are reporting high levels of physical and mental illness due to stress and burnout. One staff member told Unite, “I am at breaking point and feeling frustrated and saddened as to how I have been treated. We are working equally to our band 6 [staff grade] colleagues but not getting the equal pay. As the trust have continued to refuse to acknowledge the skills and knowledge of that of the recovery practitioner.”

Staff went on strike earlier this year on 16-17 April, 7-9 and 23-24 May, and 3-6 June  but the trust is refusing to uphold their grievances or come to the negotiating table with a reasonable solution. Staff are determined to continue to take strike action until the trust begins to negotiate. The impact of the strikes is leading to delays in operations for patients.

Unite regional officer Derek Jones added, “The Wirral trust is behaving appallingly. It knows full well it is in the wrong but it is failing to acknowledge the roles and responsibilities of these vital staff and to pay them their proper pay. Our members are furious and will not stand for it – they are prepared to take any strike action needed to force the trust to come back to the negotiating table.”

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