Staff employed by private contractor Engie Services Ltd within East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust have postponed the strike action they had planned over their employer’s failure to pay NHS rates.
The security staff- who work at Burnley General Hospital and Royal Blackburn Hospital were set to begin a 48-hour strike on Sunday (21 March) at 6.30pm.
But in a dramatic turn of events, the hospital workers have postponed their plans to strike after receiving a last-minute pay offer by their employer Engie.
Currently, multinational outsourcing giant Engie only pays the hospital workers the minimum wage rate, which leaves some of the Lancashire security staff up to £6,000 per year worse off compared to security guards employed on NHS terms.
The French company has offered to pay the hospital workers NHS Agenda for Change hourly pay rates for the next four weeks whilst they continue to negotiate with UNISON to permanently resolve the issue.
UNISON North West regional organiser Rebecca Lumberg said: “This is a welcome step in the right direction. We have always said that this is a strike that could be avoided if Engie made a genuine offer to this dedicated group of security workers.
“Security staff keep our hospitals safe and they deserve full NHS Agenda for Change pay and working conditions, especially after putting their lives at risk during the pandemic.
“Engie’s offer to pay NHS rates for basic hourly pay is a welcome gesture of goodwill and will temporarily provide security workers with a living wage. But this group are determined to secure full NHS Agenda for Change pay levels, including enhancements for hours worked at evenings and weekends.
“If Engie do not offer NHS pay rates on a permanent basis within the next four weeks, this determined group of security workers are ready to announce further strike dates.”