NHS workers in Doncaster and Bassetlaw to be balloted on industrial action

NHS workers in Doncaster and Bassetlaw are to be balloted on industrial action.

Wednesday, 13th March 2019, 5:33 pm
Updated Wednesday, 13th March 2019, 5:38 pm
Some of the staff who could soon be heading out on strike.
Some of the staff who could soon be heading out on strike.

Around 60 catering staff at Doncaster and Bassetlaw NHS Foundation Trust are being balloted on whether to take industrial action over pay.

The staff, predominantly women, are angry that they will not receive a nationally agreed pay award for NHS staff.

Some of the staff who could soon be heading out on strike.

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Their jobs were transferred to a private company, Sodexo, in January 2017 and the company is refusing to pay the award – costing some around £1,000 a year.

Sue Cookman, a regional organiser for union UNISON, said: “It is outrageous that dedicated health workers are being forced into industrial action for a pay rise they are entitled to and deserve.

“Sodexo has already agreed to pay the award to workers in other parts of the country but are refusing to negotiate with UNISON on the issue.

“These members, who earn between £17, 000 – 18,000  a year – have been forced to a ballot because the company simply refuses to speak to us constructively

“We raised this issue eight months ago with Sodexo but there has been no movement to resolve the issue.

“This is a company that last year made almost £1 billion in profits yet they refuse to meet their basic responsibilities to staff.

“UNISON has also raised this with the government, urging them to put pressure on the company to pay the nationally agreed pay award.

“But we have received no support from them and we are now left with no alternative but to ballot our members for industrial action.”

Ballot papers are now being sent out to members and the result is expected before the end of the month.

A spokesperson at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals said: “We hope that Sodexo and UNISON are able to reach a resolution.

“Should industrial action go ahead, we will be working with both to minimise any disruption to our patients.”

A Sodexo spokesperson said: “We are currently in discussion with both the Trust and the Department of Health to resolve this matter.

“Whilst these talks are ongoing we cannot comment any further.”