Roses are red, violets are blue, we’re doing band 3, but you’re paying band 2

Healthcare assistants (HCAs) employed by Stockport NHS Foundation Trust and other workers including nurses, midwives, other job roles etc are today (Monday) taking part in a Valentine’s Day celebration of the essential work they do to draw attention to their continued underpayment.

Hundreds of HCAs are employed by the Trust at a band 2 pay grade, yet they are expected to fulfil the duties of a band 3 HCA.

Today, HCAs and members of trade union UNISON will gather in the courtyard at Stepping Hill hospital to present a Valentine’s Day card to the Chief Executive of the Trust. The card contains the message: “Roses are red, violets are blue, we’re doing band 3, but you’re paying band 2.”

The HCAs will also sing to draw attention to the pay disparity and will hear speeches from local and regional UNISON representatives. The campaign action coincides with the TUC’s Heart Unions week, which aims to celebrate workers and their trade unions.

The hospital staff affected are working to contracts that mean they should provide personal care such as bathing, feeding and toileting patients, which should be paid at NHS Agenda for Change band 2 level.

However, they are often expected to perform clinical duties including taking and monitoring bloods; carrying out electrocardiogram (ECG) tests; venepuncture; escorting patients unaccompanied; complex dressings; cannulation and recording patient observations, which should be paid at band 3 level.

Following a campaign which has attracted significant political and public support, as well as the support of their colleagues, Stockport HCAs thought the agreement would be implemented by September 2021. But Trust bosses in Stockport have been dragging their feet over implementing the rebanding deal.

Stockport Health UNISON branch secretary David McAllister said: “HCAs, who have been on the front-line of the coronavirus pandemic, are rightly campaigning hard for the recognition they deserve and are entitled to.

“It’s time for Stockport NHS Trust to love their workers and recognise the essential clinical duties Band 2 HCAs have been doing for years through sheer goodwill alone.

“HCAs who have worked tirelessly to deliver outstanding care in the most challenging of circumstances do not deserve to be out of pocket whilst delivering vital clinical care, especially during a cost of living crisis.”

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