Sodexo strike averted after substantially increased pay offer, says UNISON

Strike action planned for 6, 8 and 11 March will no longer go ahead

Sodexo strikers on the picket line

Further strike action at North Devon District Hospital has been averted after contractor Sodexo made an improved offer to health care workers over their pay dispute, says UNISON.

More than four fifths (82%) of staff accepted the new offer in a consultation last week, meaning strike action planned for 6, 8 and 11 March will no longer go ahead.

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.

Although staff working for Sodexo in the NHS are on those rates, the company had initially refused to honour this lump-sum payment. It led to two days of strike action by the company’s staff at the hospital.

UNISON says the strength of feeling among health care workers that they should be paid what they are owed was what made the employer shift position and make a better offer.

Porter and UNISON rep at North Devon District Hospital Nick Moore said: “This is a fantastic result for health care workers. We’re among the lowest-paid staff so this lump sum will make a huge difference to our lives. Throughout this dispute we have only asked for one thing, and that’s to be given the same as other health staff working for the NHS.

“This shows the power of unions and working collectively. A few months ago, Sodexo refused to pay any of what we are owed, but after two days of industrial action they came back with an offer.”

UNISON South West regional secretary Kerry Baigent said: “This is a huge victory for health care staff in North Devon.

“More than a hundred of them took the tough decision to strike. Their strength and determination has made their employer think again.

“Sodexo has been forced to recognise these workers are the beating heart of the healthcare service. They deserve this payment every bit as much as their colleagues across the NHS.”