Bedfordshire HCAs strike to demand changes to pay

Nursing staff at an East of England NHS trust have walked out on strike this week, as a national Unison campaign for the up-banding of healthcare assistants (HCAs) continues.

More than 400 HCAs at Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust began the strike for 48 hours from 7.30am yesterday (11 March).

“We don’t want to be on strike, but it’s time the trust played fair and paid fair”

Bedfordshire HCA

The strike hopes to persuade the trust to move all HCAs on Agenda for Change band 2 to band 3 because they are performing clinical tasks, such as electrocardiogram tests and cannula insertions, beyond their current pay grade.

Staff on band 2, Unison said, quoting NHS guidance, should only be performing personal care.

The HCAs also ask that they are back-paid the equivalent of a band 3 wage for the period they have been working at a higher level.

According to Unison, staff were left with “no option” but to strike because the trust failed to make a good enough back pay offer.

One Bedford Hospital HCA, named only as Alesandro, said as years went by, he had been given more responsibilities but no additional pay to compensate.

“We don’t want to be on strike, but it’s time the trust played fair and paid fair,” he said.

See also  Late NHS pay letter sparks fresh nurse strike warnings

Julie Trundell, regional organiser for Unison Eastern, said the workers deserved to be paid for the work they perform.

“They don’t want to be on strike,” said Ms Trundell.

“All they’re asking for is to be fairly rewarded for the work they do and to receive back pay for the extra they’ve already put in.”

After the strike began yesterday, further walkouts happened today.

The pay dispute at Bedfordshire Hospitals is part of Unison’s national campaign to up-band HCAs to band three, which began last year.

Several trusts in the North West of England, and some in other areas of England, already came to agreements with the union, though in some areas strikes preceded a successful deal.

Ms Trundell added: “The trust should follow the lead of other employers around the country that have acted properly by grading and paying their staff.”

Cathy Jones, chief operating officer at Bedfordshire Hospitals, said Unison had rejected an offer for up-banding “where applicable” and backpay to July 2021, as well as “two further improved offers”.

Ms Jones said: “As a result of the industrial action taking place, our hospitals’ services will be impacted, with patients likely to experience delays during their appointments.

“Both our inpatients and outpatients may receive care from different clinical members of staff throughout the strike period, however all staff are trained and committed to providing the highest level of care.

“We value the vital contribution of our healthcare support workers and are in agreement and fully supportive of the re-banding of these roles.”

See also  The Increased Demand For Fitness Nursing

She added: “We are asking Unison to work with us in bringing the matter to a conclusion as soon as possible.”

Source link

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button