Health workers at Barts hospital trust in east London, took strike action to win a pay rise and to be brought back in-house. Photo: Isai Priya
Health workers at Barts hospital trust in east London, took strike action to win a pay rise and to be brought back in-house. Photo: Isai Priya

Len Hockey, Unite Barts Health branch secretary

Over 1,000 health workers in east London employed by Barts NHS Trust are being balloted for strike action.

The Unite members, employed at hospitals including the Royal London, Whipps Cross and St Barts, are seeking an inflation-proofed pay rise for 2022-23, and action on the continuing failure to address the NHS staffing crisis by resolving the problems of recruitment and retention.

The workers include workers formerly employed by Serco, whose historic strike victory last year saw 1,800 of them return to direct NHS employment.

Other issues in the ballot include the trust’s refusal to pay the ‘Agenda for Change’ 2022 pay award lump sum, worth £1,655, to employees who transferred into the trust after 31 March 2023.

Impacted by this decision are domestics, back-of-house catering, and ward host workers who transferred in on 1 May and comprise the biggest number of the former Serco staff. It is unacceptable that our overwhelmingly female domestic and catering membership should be denied the lump-sum payment given to other colleagues.

Unite are also demanding the trust commits to increasing bank shift pay in line with the 2022-23 pay award, and the consideration of service length when assimilating workers to a pay band point.

The lie from Westminster politicians that the NHS can’t be fully funded, and that private sector profiteering in the service is necessary, is frequently pushed. The truth, however, is it’s a political choice the government has made to run down our NHS. £170 billion profit was made by the energy companies, a windfall tax of £50 billion on them would give every health worker in England an inflation-proof pay rise, with change left over! 

  • The ballot opened on 11 July and runs till 22 August.
  • Unite trust-employed members in Bart’s Health branch not in receipt of a ballot paper are urged to call Unite on 0208 596 9966.