Wiltshire healthcare workers to strike in row over NHS pay deal

“Wiltshire Health and Care should do the right thing and pay up.”

Health workers at six Wiltshire hospitals will take strike action on Tuesday 12 December after being denied a pay rise worth £1,655, says UNISON today (Thursday).

Staff employed by Wiltshire Health and Care will walk out at Chippenham Community Hospital; Devizes Community Hospital; Melksham Community Hospital; Savernake Community Hospital; Trowbridge Community Hospital and Warminster Community Hospital after an overwhelming majority (95%) backed strike action.

The union says the health workers, including nurses, occupational therapists, care co-ordinators, health care assistants and physios, should be treated fairly and given the same money that was paid to colleagues employed directly by the NHS.

In June, a deal was agreed for workers on NHS contracts (and the Agenda for Change pay scales), which 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 refuses to honour the one-off bonus element, which UNISON says will mean employees earn far less than NHS staff doing exactly the same work.

UNISON South West regional organiser Jayne Jackson said: “Wiltshire Health and Care staff wear an NHS uniform and are key to keeping services in the county running.

“They deserve proper recognition for their hard work and that means being paid fairly. Refusing to pay the bonus has left staff with no alternative but to strike.

“The lump sum would make all the difference to staff. It would also make financial sense for Wiltshire Health and Care as the extra cash could be just the thing to persuade them not to quit the firm for good.”

Thomas Simblet, an assistant practitioner at Warminster Community Hospital, said: “Wiltshire Health and Care should do the right thing and pay up.

“Staff feel devalued and don’t understand why they’ve been excluded when other NHS organisations have made the payment.

“All we’re asking is to be paid the same as health staff working for the NHS. Failing to honour the payment is particularly tough to take in when everybody’s facing the same pressures over bills and the cost of living.”