Clinical Support Workers (CSWs) at Wirral University Teaching Hospital Trust (WUTH), which runs Arrowe Park and Clatterbridge Hospitals, will take strike action from 7am on 31 August 2023 to 7am on 2 September 2023.
This is part of a UNISON national campaign relating to retrospective re-grading of CSW roles. An overwhelming majority of clinical support workers voted to strike in a recent UNISON ballot.
Clinical support workers (CSWs) deliver essential care alongside nursing staff on the wards and are employed across the trust’s sites at Arrowe Park and Clatterbridge hospitals in Wirral.
The action is not related to the current national NHS strikes about pay issues. This dispute relates to UNISON’s claim that some CSWs are undertaking duties above their current pay grade.
A WUTH spokesperson said, “Although the Trust has made a commitment to ensure that our CSWs are paid the right banding for the work we ask them to do, UNISON have moved to strike action over the issue of retrospective regrading. It is very disappointing that UNISON have chosen to take this action, despite an offer made by the Trust in relation to a date for backpay.
“The Trust has made numerous attempts to meet with UNISON about this issue, but this has not averted the strike.
“Our Clinical Support Workers are a vital and valued part of our workforce. We agree that they should be paid the right banding for the work we are asking them to do.
“In May 2023, we made a pledge to work with Trade Unions to make this happen and we set up a joint working group. We made an offer for consideration of any re-grading to go back to December 2022, which is when we last reviewed Clinical Support Worker job descriptions with our Trade Unions. This offer has been rejected by UNISON. We remain open to working with UNISON to reach a resolution on this matter.
“In the meantime, we are continuing the work to deliver our pledge.
UNISON North West regional organiser David McKnight said, “Clinical support workers want to provide exceptional care to people across the Wirral. But the trust has exploited the goodwill of dedicated staff by getting them to provide care on the cheap.
“The workers have been reasonable throughout. They’ve submitted a collective grievance and met with the trust many times to try to resolve the situation.”
The WUTH spokesperson continued, “In regard to the strike action, we are extremely disappointed that UNISON have failed to attend preparation meetings. Such meetings are common practice in the lead up to any strike action, to plan for the maintenance of patient, staff and picket line safety.
“We would like to reassure residents of Wirral that we are doing everything we can to minimise impact on patients of this planned strike action.”
The CSW strike action may affect clinics and appointments, but patients are asked to attend their hospital appointment, unless they are told not to by the hospital.
People are also requested to keep the Emergency Department at Arrowe Park Hospital free for genuine emergencies and to use alternative services like GPs, pharmacy and NHS 111 online for health advice.