East Sussex NHS staff to join strike over pay

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The East Sussex NHS Trust said it does not anticipate ‘major disruption’ on Monday, when healthcare professionals go on strike.

The trust, which runs Eastbourne District General Hospital, advises patients to attend appointments as normal.

Strike action will take place from 7am until 11am on Monday October 13, over a pay dispute.

UNISON announced its members working in the NHS would strike on Monday, followed by four days of action short of strike action between Tuesday and Friday when members will stop working through their breaks and instead take their breaks.

Members of the Royal College of Midwives and the Society of Radiographers will also take part in the UK-wide strike.

Richard Sunley, chief operating officer at the East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs Eastbourne District General Hospital,said, “We have been working with staff side representatives to try to anticipate the number of staff who will be taking industrial action between 7am - 11am on Monday to ensure we have staff to provide essential services.

“Our overriding objective during this period of industrial action is to ensure we continue to provide high quality and safe services to patients. We do not anticipate any major disruption, however, we do have contingency plans in place to ensure the quality of patient care is not compromised should there be any significant disruption to supporting services.

“Patients are advised to attend clinics and appointments as normal.”

A total of 68 per cent of NHS UNISON members voted yes for industrial action and 88 per cent to action short of strike action.

UNISON members include nurses, paramedics, therapists, cooks, cleaners, healthcare assistants and admin staff.

Tony Jones, UNISON South East Head of Health, said, “NHS members don’t take action often or lightly. For many of our members this will be the first time they walk out as the last action over pay was 32 years ago.

“Staff are on average 10 per cent worse off than when the coalition came to power and this means their families are suffering and morale is hitting rock bottom. A well-motivated workforce saves lives so we need to cherish and support our NHS staff who work day in, day out caring for others.

“The NHS runs on the goodwill of its workers, but this government has shown utter contempt for them by refusing to give any pay increase to the vast majority this year and next.

“Jeremy Hunt had enough time to act and avoid this. We have offered the government the opportunity to negotiate with unions on pay on several occasions.”

UNISON is coordinating the industrial action with the other health trade unions.