Drivers beep their horns in support as NHS staff strike at Royal Hospital

NHS staff in Liverpool walked out on strike in a pay dispute set to continue until August.

Facilities workers including porters, cleaners and catering staff from the Royal Liverpool University Hospital and Broadgreen Hospital are striking over the payment of a lump sum of £1,655, given to staff employed by the NHS in May 2023 following months of strike action. However, some workers employed by agencies and other non-NHS organisations missed out on the payment.

Workers who did not receive that payment formed a picket line outside the Royal Hospital today (June 7). The GMB union has agreed to ten days of strikes, which could continue until August.

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Drivers blared their horns in support as they drove past the striking workers this afternoon.

About the strike, Kerry Nash, senior organiser with the GMB union, told the ECHO: “These people do the same work, the only thing different is the name on their uniforms and payslips.”

“We’ve got people that have had contracts for decades, that have always worked at these hospitals and delivered NHS services to patients, just never directly employed by the NHS.”

The picketers outside the Royal Hospital have been employed by the NHS since April 1 2023. The cut-off point for those that qualified for the one-off payment was the day before their contract was transferred - March 31 2023.

Kerry said: “You’ve got people who joined the hospital in January of 2023, who received the lump sum. Some of our members put their lives in danger working through covid, and they won’t see any of that money. It just makes no sense.”

Some members of staff on the picket line claimed they have refused their one-off payment until all members receive it.

Katherine Redfern, 41, is the assistant catering manager at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital. She said: “We all worked alongside the nurses and carers through covid, we weren’t given enough PPE, we put our lives at risk to care for patients and we didn’t see anything extra for it.”

“It’s completely unfair, that’s why we’re out on strike today.”

A spokesperson for Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “This industrial action concerns a dispute between GMB members and their previous employer. The Trust has followed national guidelines for non-consolidated pay awards. Our Estates and Facilities team has business continuity plans in place to ensure the safe delivery of care and people should attend their hospital appointments as planned.”

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