Further strike action avoided as Cumberland Infirmary workers reach agreement with employer

More than 150 porters, cleaners, switchboard and catering staff who work at Cumberland Infirmary have won their long-running trade dispute with their employer Mitie.

The infirmary workers had taken seven days of strike action in recent months over payments for working unsocial hours (night, weekend and bank holiday) shifts and were set to go on strike again this month.

But last week constructive talks were held between trade unions, the hospital workers’ employer Mitie and North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust.

The talks came to a positive conclusion and UNISON members have now accepted an offer from Mitie- marking the end of the industrial dispute.

The offer will see the Cumberland Infirmary workers paid the full NHS Agenda for Change levels of pay for all unsocial hours worked from November 2021.

In addition, the offer includes provisions to prevent any job losses as a result of unsocial hours pay being introduced. Finally, a commitment has been made that no worker will be treated any differently by their employer as a result of participating in the trade dispute.

UNISON Regional Organiser David Atkinson said: “We are delighted that this dispute has come to a positive conclusion and we now look forward to working together in partnership with Mitie and the Trust for the benefit of patients and staff.

“Hospital workers in Cumbria put themselves at risk during the pandemic to keep us safe. The least they deserve is the full NHS rates of pay when they spend time away from their family overnight and at the weekend.

“Thanks to their own determination and togetherness, Infirmary staff have now secured the unsocial hours payments they have rightfully earned.”

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