UNISON has announced a further period of strike action for Clinical Support Workers at Wirral University Teaching Hospital, in a dispute relating to retrospective re-grading. This is part of a UNISON national campaign.
The next period of strike action will take place from 7am on 11 September to 6:59am on 14 September 2023.
When this issue was raised in May 2023, The Trust immediately pledged its commitment to ensuring that Clinical Support Workers are paid the right banding for the work we are asking them to do. The Trust also made an initial offer in relation to back pay. That offer was rejected by UNISON.
Following a meeting with UNISON this week, the Trust carefully considered the points made and issued a second offer.
The Trust believes the revised offer is very reasonable and sets out a simplified process for those staff members involved in the dispute. The revised offer is based on an offer accepted by UNISON in another NHS Trust.
This offer was also rejected by UNISON. The Trust said it was “very disappointed and concerned that UNISON has declined to ask its members to vote on the revised offer.”
A Trust spokesperson said, “The Trust has been reasonable and fair throughout this process and remains committed to resolving this dispute. The Trust have again asked UNISON to agree to mediation via ACAS in order to reach an agreement.”
UNISON member Nikki has been a clinical support worker at WUTH for 19 years. Before the last strike, she said, “I’m fed up with doing the work of a band three and only being recognised and appreciated as a band two.
“It’s not just about the pay, it’s about being recognised. We’re not asking to be managers, just to be paid fairly for the work we’re doing.”
“We’ve been doing these roles for many years without question and nobody took any notice of the matter until UNISON supported us to fight our corner.
“I work in theatre, and there are plenty of jobs we’re asking to do, and if we say ‘that’s not my job’, we’re told ‘yes, but you can do that, so go and do that’.
“We don’t want to have to strike. We all love our jobs and are dedicated to our patients. But you have to stand up for what you believe in and what is right, and if nobody’s listening to us, we don’t have a choice.”
Tracy Fennell, Chief Nurse at Wirral University Teaching Hospital, said, “We have consistently stated that we want to work in partnership with UNISON to reach an agreement on this matter and end the dispute.
“On 7 September 2023 we made a revised offer to UNISON, which we believe would provide all staff involved with a fair and speedy resolution to this dispute. The offer included a non-consolidated payment based on length of service, to be paid in November 2023. In addition, the revised offer was made for all Clinical Support Workers, without the requirement for staff to undertake onerous evidence collection and assessment processes.
“Furthermore, we intend to invest in our Clinical Support Worker workforce by creating a significant number of new band 3 posts. We would aim to have this in place by 1st December 2023.
“We are very disappointed that UNISON has declined to ask its members to vote on accepting this offer, despite it being in line with an offer accepted by UNISON in another NHS Trust.”
The CSW strike action may affect clinics and appointments, but patients are asked to attend their hospital appointments 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, pharmacies, and NHS 111 online for health advice.