North East UNISON NHS staff to strike for seven more days in ongoing pay dispute

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A union has announced healthcare staff will walk out at hospital sites across the region again in a dispute with bosses.

UNISON says hundreds of healthcare assistants employed by North Tees & Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust and South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust are to strike for the fourth time.

The latest action will take place from 8am on Monday, June 10, to 8am on Saturday, June 15.

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It will then be followed by a further 48-hour period beginning on Monday, June 17.

UNISON members on the picket line outside of The University Hospital of Hartlepool in April. Picture by FRANK REIDUNISON members on the picket line outside of The University Hospital of Hartlepool in April. Picture by FRANK REID
UNISON members on the picket line outside of The University Hospital of Hartlepool in April. Picture by FRANK REID

The action will affect the University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton; the University Hospital of Hartlepool; and James Cook University Hospital, in Middlesbrough.

Staff are due to picket outside the hospitals as they have done since the start of the action in March.

The ongoing dispute centres on wage rates and back pay. UNISON says most healthcare assistants routinely undertake clinical tasks normally done by those on a higher pay band, such as taking blood, performing electrocardiogram tests, and inserting cannulas.

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The union wants staff to be compensated for such work done prior to a government reassessment in July 2021 which included most healthcare assistants moving up from band 2 to band 3.

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UNISON Northern regional secretary Clare Williams said: “Healthcare assistants have done unpaid clinical work for years and it’s time for the employers to talk with the union to find a fair level of back pay.

"This dispute needs to be settled once and for all.

“UNISON will continue to support staff in their fight against this pay injustice until the trusts see sense, value their workers and resolve this dispute.”

The union has accused the health trusts of refusing to negotiate.

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However, the hospital group University Hospitals Tees, which includes North Tees and Hartlepool and South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trusts, says it has been working closely with union colleagues to develop an offer for qualifying staff.

Bosses say: “We are committed to moving all eligible staff from band 2 to band 3 if appropriate for the individual.”

They add they are committed to no detriment and that no colleagues will lose out.

Patients are advised to attend appointment as planned during the strike action, unless they are contacted to reschedule.

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