Health workers across Wiltshire have overwhelmingly backed strike action in a row over pay, says UNISON today (Friday).
Staff employed by Wiltshire Health and Care* say they are being denied a pay rise worth £1,655 that has been paid to other NHS workers. In the ballot, 95% of staff who took part backed strikes if they are not paid fairly.
The industrial action would affect Chippenham Community Hospital, Warminster Community Hospital and Trowbridge Community Hospital.
In June, a deal was agreed for workers on NHS contracts who are on the Agenda for Change pay scales. It included a 5% wage rise for this year and a one-off payment of £1,655 for the lowest paid for 2022/23.
However, Wiltshire Health and Care has so far refused to honour the one-off bonus element, which UNISON says left workers with no alternative but to ballot for strike action.
The union says staff must be treated fairly and given the same money as colleagues employed directly by the NHS.
UNISON South West regional organiser Jayne Jackson said: “All NHS workers deserve to be paid fairly for the work they do.
“Wiltshire Health and Care’s refusal to pay the NHS bonus has left hospital staff with no alternative but to consider strike action.
“It’s not too late for the employer to think again and avoid disruption. It should play fair and pay its staff properly.”
Thomas Simblet, an assistant practitioner at Warminster Community Hospital, said: “Staff feel devalued and don’t understand why they’ve been excluded when other NHS organisations have made the payment.
“Striking is always a last resort, but all we’re asking is to be paid the same as health staff working for the NHS, particularly at a time when everybody’s facing the same pressures over bills and the cost of living.”