Clinical support workers (CSW) staff striking in Wirral. Photo: Steve Ion
Clinical support workers (CSW) staff striking in Wirral. Photo: Steve Ion

Steve Ion, Liverpool and District Socialist Party

Over 400 clinical support workers (CSW) staff, members of Unison, voted 99% for action and walked out on strike for two days on 31 August and 1 September. This is the first time CSWs have taken action. Socialist Party members spoke to the strikers on the picket line.

These staff, employed in Wirral hospitals Arrowe Park and Clatterbridge, have remained on the Band 2 pay scale, despite carrying out work like bloods, urinalysis, ECGs and cannulas;  dealing with families, and computer work. With reduced funding and a lack of staff, these out-of-grade duties have been passed on to the CSWs. 

The Band 2 level of work they are paid for is feeding, washing and general care. According to NHS guidance, they should only undertake these personal care duties. But for years they have been expected to do more higher-grade work with no compensation.

Unison states that members have lost around £2,000 a year by being in the wrong band.

Seven trusts in the north west have rebanded and backdated their CSWs’ pay to 2018. But Wirral chief executive Janelle Holmes has made an offer of backdating to December 2022 only. The deputy chief executive, who has spoken out against the strikes, is paid £210,000 a year – ten times that of the striking workers. 

The mood on the picket line was vibrant. Workers were determined to win this dispute, and while they have been patient up to now, it is about time the trust honoured their claim.  Workers feel used by the trust.

Further strikes are planned for 72 hours of strike action set for 11 September until 14 September

  • Messages of support to Norman Robinson, branch secretary Wirral Unison Health Branch [email protected]