More strike dates announced by North Devon healthcare workers in pay dispute

Sodexo staff will walk out on 6, 8 and 11 March

Official picket line placard wedged into the ground. Striking workers can be seen in the background.

Hundreds of the lowest-paid workers at North Devon District Hospital are to take three more days of strike action next month after being denied a pay rise worth at least £1,655, says UNISON today (Thursday).

The health staff, who work for private contractor Sodexo, will walk out on Wednesday 6, Friday 8 and Monday 11 March. They say they should be treated fairly and given the same money as colleagues directly employed by the NHS.

In June last year, a deal was agreed for staff on NHS contracts (Agenda for Change pay scales), which included a minimum one-off payment of £1,655 for 2022/23.

UNISON says Sodexo’s refusal to honour the one-off payment breaks a long-standing agreement between the company and the union. Guaranteeing that Sodexo staff will be treated the same as their NHS colleagues.

If the bonus is not paid, the firm’s employees will earn far less than their NHS colleagues doing similar work, says UNISON.

Porter and UNISON rep at North Devon District Hospital Nick Moore said: “Sodexo should do the decent thing and pay its staff fairly. All they are asking for is to be given the same as other health staff working for the NHS.

“Sodexo employees feel devalued and don’t understand why they’ve been excluded when other NHS organisations have made the one-off payment. Sodexo should honour its commitment to treat its staff the same as other NHS employees.

“The union remains open to talks to try and resolve the dispute before the need for further disruption.

“The lump sum would make a real difference to staff, and it would make financial sense for Sodexo. Giving everyone the extra cash would stop many currently thinking of leaving from quitting the firm for good.”

Photo credit: Chloe Morris Photography