Threat of strike action at Crowborough Hospital averted


Update: Following recent talks, NHS Property Services have offered to exclude all staff who transferred from East Sussex Hospital Trust at community hospitals in Sussex from the scope of the national transformation program.

A letter from NHS Property Services to the GMB Union includes an acceptance that staff at Lewes, Uckfield and Crowborough hospitals carry-out additional duties assisting medical staff and service in addition to their facilities management responsibilities.

GMB will now consult members, with the likelihood that acceptance of the Trust’s proposal.

Cleaners, porters and catering staff working for NHS Property Services at Uckfield, Lewes and Crowborough Hospitals have voted overwhelmingly to take strike action over pay cuts.

Crowborough War Memorial Hospital

Over 95% of union members that voted said they were prepared to take strike action, and there was 100% support for action short of strike action, meaning that GMB members are now able to take action, if a promised meeting to discuss an offer does not materialise or is unreasonably delayed.

Gary Palmer GMB Regional Organiser said:

This result shows both the depth of disappointment and strength of resolve to ensure any detrimental changes proposed to date by NHS Property Services Ltd [NHSPS] are not simply imposed.

To their credit we have already heard back from NHSPS since passing on the ballot result to them and our expectations are that they will follow through on their promise to now meet with us locally to seek a resolution acceptable to members, a resolution which means that staff will not lose money through what was portrayed as being purely an organisational transformation program in the beginning and not the pay cut it ended up looking like.

In light of NHSPS management’s willingness and desire to speak to us now about the possibility of an acceptable solution, GMB will temporarily delay issuing strike notices to allow for talks to take place as a sign of good faith in return.

GMB and its members very much now hope that we can resolve matters agreeably and do so quite quickly. It’s a shame that we couldn’t get to this point without having to threaten such drastic action. If not though we will seek to return to opposing robustly any enforced changes through taking action in order to protect the terms and conditions of our members in early October in compliance with strike action legal notification requirements.”

As CrowboroughLife reported in August, the industrial action is over moves by NHS Property Services to rationalise the number of job titles and job descriptions.

Over three-quarters of GMB members returned their ballot papers to the Independent Scrutineer.




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  1. As a fellow member (retired) of the GMB, I wish everyone involved a speedy and successful conclusion. I particularly hope you get it settled soon before we leave the EU and all the gains made in industrial relations are destroyed by this government.

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