Cumberland Infirmary staff set to begin strike as parties fail to reach an agreement

More than 150 porters, cleaners, and catering staff at Carlisle's Cumberland Infirmary are set to take strike action over unsocial hours payments.

NHS workers receive enhanced rates for working at unsociable times such as weekends or through the night. Unions says non-medical staff have not been getting these payments.

Unison, who represent non-medical staff working at the Infirmary released the following statement:

"More than 150 porters, cleaners, switchboard and catering staff employed by Mitie at Cumberland Infirmary are set to begin strike action on Friday (26 February) over missing payments for working unsocial hours.

NHS workers receive enhanced rates - such as time-and-a-half and double time - for working at unsocial times such as weekends or through the night.

But trade union UNISON discovered that the Cumberland Infirmary staff have not received the payments for over ten years, leaving them significantly out of pocket.

Trade unions UNISON and GMB held crunch talks with Mitie and North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust this week in a last-ditch attempt to avoid strike action."

Mitie, which took over the contract for those workers in November, said talks were continuing:

"As Unison is well aware, we are not in a position to provide a guarantee at this time. The Trust and HMC are continuing talks to resolve the situation and agree a long term solution for all parties. In the meantime, our focus is on ensuring that the hospital continues to receive the support it needs and patient safety is prioritised, particularly with the unprecedented challenges presented by COVID-19."

The North Cumberland Integrated Care Trust (NCIC) who speak for the hospital said, "We encourage Mitie to resolve this dispute and along with the PFI company, HMC, the Trust continues to engage with them for this to be achieved. Mitie's plans to maintaining services for the patients and public is our key priority at this time and we are working closely with Mitie's local team to ensure arrangements are in place to sustain safe services despite the action taking place."