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Possible Brighton NHS Dispute

Monday, June 29, 2015

GMB Call On Brighton & Sussex University NHS Trust To Stop Blocking End Of Two Tier Structure For Transferred Facility Staff Or Face Industrial Action

Patient services at both The Royal Sussex and Princess Royal Hospitals will be affected if fed up low paid staff make the stand for fair pay and equal terms and conditions within the NHS says GMB.

GMB are warned that failure by Brighton & Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust (BSUH) to engage in the current talks with Sodexo which will see the ending of unfair pay of the two tier pay structures for Porters and Housekeeping staff, amongst others will lead to members being forced to take industrial action by their blocking what otherwise would have been productive meetings.

GMB members recently voted positive to take industrial action should either of the 2014 or 2015 pay negotiations fail to be settled, but agreed to postpone any industrial action whilst the GMB took part in last ditch talks with the current employer Sodexo. They now find themselves prevented by settling matters as the new employer BSUH fails to either take part in or authorise Sodexo to settle the 2015 dispute on their behalf.

GMB, whose members on non NHS terms and conditions have asked that on their return back into the NHS fold to be treated fairly and equitably by being paid comparable salaries and in receiving all the same terms and conditions as their NHS colleagues, who they will be working alongside and carrying out similar roles whilst still receiving less pay for doing so.

In addition, the GMB would also like to see the ending of the staff being placed on the lowest current banding within the Trust, and to see them move to be paid under Agenda for Change pay scales to a rate which would see them move to a point nearer earning the living wage.

Gary Palmer, GMB organiser, said “This latest meeting has once again been a little unusual in so much as, at times a single meeting can be both extremely positive and at others very frustrating for both GMB workplace Reps and Members alike.

The issue is that discussions about areas for which Sodexo still have full responsibility and liability for during recent pay talks, have been very constructive and a possible proposal we could put to members on the 2014 offer is close to being formalised.

But this dispute is not simply about just one year’s pay, and the acceptance and implementation by either the current or future employer that fair and equal pay under NHS Agenda for change is the right thing to do for those transferring back to a public NHS Hospital and that’s where GMB members have found themselves being frustrated in not being able to discuss any resolution with Sodexo in settling the 2015 pay dispute.

BSUH have full say on all matters they would inherit following the transfer and they are preventing discussions either from not attending the meetings themselves or simply failing to authorise Sodexo to act on their behalf in talks with the GMB so we can attempt to resolve matters prior to the upcoming transfer.

The problem that leaves Sodexo with is that agreement needs to be reached for both the 2014 and 2015 pay disputes before the GMB would look to remove the current live threat to give notice of industrial action, and from what we are seeing they are just being prevented from doing so, even if they wanted to settle.

Letting things drag on is now not an option, therefore as the current employer we have reluctantly had to inform Sodexo that unless we hear that either the Trust supports, allowing Sodexo as current employer to resolve all matters, or the trusts confirmation to agree to sit meaningfully and immediately with us of their own accord to seek a harmonisation of pay together with terms and conditions by Monday 3pm, or we will have no choice but to issue the required notices to commence a series of industrial action events.

It therefore appears that only the BSUH NHS Trust can prevent a strike which will see patient services at both The Royal Sussex and Princess Royal Hospitals affected, when fed up low paid Porters, Housekeepers, Cleaners and Patient Feeding Services make the stand for fair pay and equal terms and conditions within the NHS. “


Contact: Gary Palmer GMB Organiser 07552165950, Mark Turner GMB Branch Secretary 07860787973 or Charles Harrity, GMB Senior Organiser on 07977518042 or GMB press office 07921 289880 or 07974 251 823


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