Porters, cleaners, switchboard and catering staff working at the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle - all members of trade union UNISON - are currently voting on whether to take strike action over missing payments for working unsocial hours.
Extra money to cover unsocial hours payments was agreed over a decade ago as part of the NHS Agenda for Change pay deal.
These hospital workers are employed by Interserve, which has repeatedly claimed that it has never received funding to pay the Infirmary workers unsocial hours payments - maintaining that it would implement the payments as soon as it received the money to do so.
Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Trust (NCIC) claim that they handed over a “substantial sum” for the payment of unsocial hours for these staff ten years ago. This payment would have been made to Health Management Carlisle, who manage the Interserve contract on behalf of NCIC.
Worryingly, Health Management Carlisle has denied ever receiving any payments from the Trust relating to unsocial hours payments.
UNISON North West Regional Organiser David Atkinson said: “Interserve members have worked on the front-line throughout the pandemic keeping the Cumberland Infirmary running. Without them, our nurses and doctors would be unable to deliver vital care.
“Whilst they have risked their own lives - they have not received any of the unsocial hours payments we believe they deserve for working away from their families overnight and at the weekend – payments made to all other staff working at the hospital.
“Meanwhile, Interserve, NCIC and Health Management Carlisle have been pointing the finger at each other. I want to make it clear, I am not interested in who has the money, or where it has been for the last ten years – all I want is for this pay inequity at the hospital to end now.
“It is simply unacceptable to treat front-line health workers, who are the lowest paid at the hospital, in this way. Cleaners, porters, caterers and switchboard staff are coming together in their union UNISON to say enough is enough - and they are determined to secure the pay they deserve.
“We call on Interserve, Health Management Carlisle and NCIC to find a solution to this mess.”
UNISON is balloting seventy-three cleaners, porters, catering and switchboard staff who are employed by Interserve at Cumberland Infirmary over the non-payment of unsocial hours enhancements. The ballot opened on 5 November and will close on 26 November.