Crowborough Hospital staff to be balloted over strike action

Cleaners, porters and catering staff at Lewes, Uckfield and Crowborough Hospitals could take strike action over pay cuts.

The GMB Union have said some staff could lose at much as £4-£5,000, as they claim their new employer has decided to “slash and cut” their way to profitability.

The Union argue, NHS Property Services intend to remove established job descriptions and pay bandings, protected under TUPE regulations, without meaningful consultation, and replace them unilaterally with their own inferior pay scales and job evaluations.

Gary Palmer GMB Organiser said:

Time is purposefully being allowed to slip away by NHS Property Services as they continue to go through a sham predetermined outcome consultation period until the end of August.  Many members of staff are still to receive the right consultation packs and job descriptions, and although the company apologies constantly over mix up after mix up, no members of staff GMB has spoken to has any confidence that what they are receiving will be the correct information or even fair in relation to their roles.  They feel that NHS Property Services have simply decided to slash and cut their way to profitability at the expense of those least able to absorb such drastic pay reductions, in this case local staff.

NHS Property Services was established as part of the 2013 health reforms.   As staff transferred from 161 different predecessor organisations (primary care trusts and strategic health authorities), the company has been left with 236 different job titles and job descriptions.  They plan to reduce this number to around 20.

Staff at Crowborough, Uckfield and Lewes Hospitals were transferred to NHS Property Services from East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust in December 2016.

A spokesperson for NHS Property Services, said:

We need to correct the inconsistencies and inequalities we have for some colleagues that arise because we have many different job titles and job descriptions for very similar roles.

We are genuinely consulting on the proposals with all our affected staff and their representatives and we have already made a number of changes in light of the feedback received so far.

 The GMB and other unions have been fully engaged with our national communications and consultation since January 2017 and have helped shape the process.

NHS Property Services have said all members of staff at these sites have now received their consultation packs.  A drop-in session to discuss the proposals and ask questions was held in Crowborough on 3rd August.  The consultation period has also been extended to ensure everyone has a chance to give their views.

The ballot opens on 18th August and GMB members could potentially take industrial action as soon as mid-September.

One comment on “Crowborough Hospital staff to be balloted over strike action
  1. Another example of privatisation by the back door. These employees are essential to the smooth running of hospitals and give their utmost to their jobs. They are being treated like simpletons and cogs in a machine that have no capacity to answer back. I note that ‘consultations’ are taking place during the summer holidays. Why should they have their pay and conditions diminished so that this organisation can make cuts and savings? Thank God for the GMB. This is a case where unions are sorely needed. If these workers have no other recourse than to strike, then good luck to them. Austerity and foisting the sins of the rich and powerful on those least able to cope have gone on long enough.

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