Four major London NHS trusts hit by fresh strikes over pay and staff shortages

NHS workers take part in a march from St Thomas' Hospital to Trafalgar Square (PA)
NHS workers take part in a march from St Thomas' Hospital to Trafalgar Square (PA)

Workers at four major London NHS Trusts will strike next month in a dispute over staffing and pay.

Unite said that employees working at Barts Health NHS Trust, Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Trust, East London Foundation Trust and Guys and St Thomas’ Trust would walk out on separate days next month.

Over 2,800 workers will be involved in the strikes including nurses, pathologists, cleaners, caterers, porters and ancillary roles.

The strikes come as consultants in the British Medical Association (BMA) prepare to take industrial action for the third next month in a bitter dispute over pay. Junior doctors in the BMA also remain in dispute with ministers and staged their fifth walkout last month.

Industrial action will impact the Trusts on the following dates:

- Barts on September 13-14 and then from September 16-22

- Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Trust workers from September 13-14

- East London Foundation Trust workers on September 13

- Guys and St Thomas’ workers on September 13-14

Unite said the dispute had arisen due to staff shortages at the Trusts reaching “such a dangerous level that they risk the health of patients and threaten staff welfare”.

Earlier this year, members of the union voted to reject the Government’s pay offer to the NHS Staff Council, which comprises of other unions including the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) and Unison. Workers in these unions are covered by the Agenda for Change (AfC) contract, the largest employment contract in the NHS.

Over 1,000 workers at Barts are in dispute as they did not receive the £1,655 lump sum payment that was part of the NHS pay settlement for 2022/23, Unite said.

The union said this was because these employees had previously been outsourced to Serco and only in recent months brought back into the NHS.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “NHS employers must stop sweeping the staffing crisis under the carpet. Hospitals are so short of staff that patients are frequently being put at risk. Until the fundamental causes of low pay and impossible working conditions are resolved, the problem is only going to get worse.”

The union’s national lead officer Onay Kasab said: “The strike action will cause disruption and delays at the NHS Trusts but our members can’t take anymore. They have been raising serious concerns about staff levels for years but have been met by a wall of disdain and indifference.”