Sunderland hospital braced for strike action

STRIKE ACTION: Members of three unions are set to walk out of Sunderland Royal Hospital on Monday morning in a row over pay.

STRIKE ACTION: Members of three unions are set to walk out of Sunderland Royal Hospital on Monday morning in a row over pay.

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CHIEFS at Sunderland Royal Hospital say they hope to experience minimal disruption to services as Monday’s strike takes place.

Workers who are members of the Unison, Royal College of Midwives and GMB unions are set to walk out from 7am to 11am in a row over pay.

It will then be followed by a period of “work to rule”.

The action comes after the Government rejected a recommended one per cent pay rise for the current year, and health secretary Jeremy Hunt has said that there will be no increase next year.

Unions argue the pay freeze will have been imposed for four out of the past five years.

“It’s a disgrace that for the first time in history, the Government ignored the independent pay review body which recommended a pay rise,” said Ann Clay, Unison officer for Sunderland Royal Hospital.

“It’s doing a massive disservice to 60 per cent of health service staff who have been forced to stand still for years.

“Ministers say we are all in the same boat and that we’re in it together, but we know that’s not true.”

Bosses at the royal said today that contingency plans are being implemented to cope with the walkout and that care will be compromised as little as possible.

A spokesman for City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust said: “The trust’s overriding statutory obligation is to provide high quality and safe services to patients – during any periods of industrial action, we will implement contingency plans in order to meet those obligations, particularly so they do not affect emergency and critical care.

“It is not possible at this stage to know how many staff will take part in the industrial actions, but we would reassure local people that we aim to ensure that services across the trust and quality of patient care are compromised as little as possible.”