A long-running dispute involving more than 150 porters, cleaners, switchboard and catering staff employed by Mitie at Cumberland Infirmary has come to a positive conclusion, according to a statement by Unison.

The infirmary workers had taken seven days of strike action in recent months over payments for working unsocial hours (night, weekend and bank holiday) shifts and were set to go on strike again this month.

But last week constructive talks were held between Unison, GMB, Mitie and North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust and the affected staff have now accepted an offer from Mitie, which marks the end of the dispute.

The offer will see the Cumberland Infirmary workers paid the full NHS Agenda for Change levels of pay for all unsocial hours worked from November this year.

There’s also a commitment to prevent any job losses following the introduction of unsocial hours pay, and Mitie has confirmed no employee will be treated any differently because of their participation in the dispute.

Unison Northwest regional organiser David Atkinson said: “Everyone is so pleased the dispute has come to a positive conclusion. Both unions look forward to working in partnership with Mitie and the trust for the benefit of patients and staff.

“Hospital workers in Cumbria have put themselves at risk during the pandemic to keep people safe. The least they deserve are the full NHS rates of pay when they spend time away from their families overnight and at weekends.

“Thanks to their own determination and togetherness, Infirmary staff have now secured the unsocial hours payments they’ve rightfully earned.”  

Date published: May 26, 2021

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