King’s Lynn hospital staff to take part in industrial action over pay dispute

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Union leaders have pledged a safe service will be maintained at Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital despite plans for industrial action next week.

Several organisations with staff at the Gayton Road site are planning to stage a four-hour walkout on Monday, between 7am and 11am, as part of an ongoing national dispute with the government over pay.

They then plan to take action short of strikes, known as working to rule, in which staff will only work their contracted hours, take full breaks and refuse additional duties, for the rest of next week.

And a further four-hour strike has also been planned for Monday, November 10.

Darren Barber, chairman of the hospital’s joint staff-side committee and secretary of its Unison branch, said: “We have been working with the trust before this action takes place to ensure a save service for all patients is still delivered. Staffing will be maintained at safe levels.”

The action, which is the first NHS strike since 1982, has been called in protest at what unions claim is the government’s decision to ignore the NHS Pay Review Body’s recommendations and instead only offer a one per cent rise to staff at the top of their pay scales.

Ministers insist a general pay rise is unaffordable and would put jobs at risk, though the unions claim their current plans amount to a pay freeze.

Mr Barber said: “The NHS is facing challenges, so telling more than half the workforce that they are not worth a pay rise will not help to mend relationships that have been strained by re-organisation over the past few years.

The unions taking part in the action at the QEH include Unison, Unite, the Royal College of Midwives, the Society of Radiographers, the British Association of Occupational Therapists (BAOT) and Managers in Partnership (MIP), who represent health service management staff.