Blackburn and Burnley Hospital security workers’ trade dispute over as they are brought in-house by NHS Trust

Staff employed by private contractor Engie Services Ltd within East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust have cancelled all strike action they had planned to take 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 (18 April) at 7am.

But in a dramatic turn of events, the hospital workers have cancelled all plans to strike after East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust took the decision to bring the security service in-house, meaning that hospital security workers will be employed by the NHS Trust rather than 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 contract for security services between Engie and the Trust will end within the next three to six months, at which point the hospital security guards will transfer to health service employment and will be entitled to full NHS Agenda for Change pay and conditions.

Engie and the NHS Trust have also come to an agreement which means that hospital security workers will receive the NHS hourly rate and overtime rate until the TUPE transfer takes place.

UNISON North West regional organiser Rebecca Lumberg said: “This is an excellent victory for this group of dedicated hospital workers, who stuck together and rightly insisted that they were part of the NHS team.

“Hospital security workers keep patients and staff safe. They have put themselves at increased risk working during the pandemic and they fully deserve the NHS pay and conditions that they will now receive.

“We commend the commitment and hard-work undertaken to ensure that this issue was positively resolved before strike action was taken. We look forward to working in partnership with the Trust to make sure that the full benefits of taking this service in-house are felt by both patients and staff.”

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