Grantham Hospital maintenance staff take industrial action over loss of income

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MAINTENANCE staff at Grantham Hospital took industrial action on Monday in reaction to losing a potential £1,700 from their incomes.

The electricians, plumbers, technicians and maintenance staff joined their colleagues at Boston and Lincoln to work-to-rule.

United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust, which runs the hospitals, cut the workers’ national recruitment and retention premium – designed to retain staff in short supply – by 50 per cent in April. The 40-strong workforce face losing the remaining half from April 2013.

Unite regional officer David Roome said: “A craft person’s maximum basic starting salary is £18,402, rising after seven years to £21,798. The premium loss will mean many of these highly skilled members, most who have worked at these hospitals for many years, struggling to make ends meet.

“At the same time as they are losing £33-a-week, these members have also had to start paying around £18-a-month to park at work due to the Trust imposing this on all employees. Given that Lincolnshire is a rural county, car travel is essential for most staff to get to work.”

He said the Trust made no attempt to negotiate a premium agreement.

Mr Roome added: “This trust wants to explore the possibility of seeking foundation status. One of the principles of foundation status is having a good working partnership with its employees. This is not the approach the Trust is following.”

Director of Facilities Management for the Trust Mike Speakman said: “We are disappointed that Unite have chosen to take this action in response to a nationally agreed change. We have been working with them to seek an agreement at a local level and those negotiations continue.”

The action did not effect patients.