UNISON calls off strike action after “huge” Salford subco win

Staff employed by private contractor Engie Services Ltd within Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust have called off their planned 72-hour strike, which was set to begin today.

The security workers voted unanimously to strike over their employer’s failure to pay NHS rates. However, in what UNISON is describing as a “huge victory”, Engie has offered to move all Salford security staff onto NHS (Agenda for Change) pay and conditions.

The security guards work for the multinational outsourcing company at Salford Royal. Before this deal, some have been paid only the minimum wage rate of £8.21 an hour.

The lowest rate for staff employed directly by the NHS is £9.03 an hour and the difference of 82p is worth £1,500 a year for full-time staff.

Even the security guards paid more than the minimum wage have been earning considerably less than NHS wage rates and have had worse working conditions than other staff they work alongside within the trust.

UNISON North West regional organiser Amy Barringer said: “This pay deal is testament to the unity and determination of the security staff at the Royal who stuck together and demanded fair treatment.

“Hospital security staff are the unsung heroes of our health service and they fully deserve the NHS rates that they will now be paid.

“The strike notice has been withdrawn on the proviso that Engie signs an agreement to implement the deal this week. We hope this issue is now resolved but the security guards won’t hesitate to call further strike dates if it looks the promised pay deal isn’t forthcoming.”

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