Hospital staff in Carlisle take part in a 48-hour strike over pay dispute

Staff strike outside of the Cumberland Infirmary, Carlisle. Credit: ITV News

Some hospital staff at the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle are taking part in a 48-hour strike as part of a long running pay dispute.

The hospital domestics, employed by a private company called Mitie, say they are paid less than NHS staff carrying out the same roles because they don't receive enhancements for working unsocial hours such as nights and weekends.

Unison Regional Organiser David Atkinson told ITV Border: ""This has been a long running dispute, it's been going on for 10 years and it involves the Trust, Mitie and Healthcare Management Carlisle and their failure to provide our members with unsocial hours payments. There's a dispute between all three parties about who is liable to pay these unsocial hours payments." 

Mitie has said constructive talks were "continuing. A statement from the company reads:"As Unison is well aware, we are, unfortunately, not in a position to provide a guarantee at this time.

"We have not received any of the suggested funds to support unsocial hours payments and there has never been an agreement for colleagues on this contract to receive these payments.

"The Trust and HMC are continuing constructive talks to resolve the situation and agree a long term solution for all parties."

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 hem for this to be achieved. 

"Mitie's plans to maintaining services for the patients and public is our key priority and we will work closely with Mitie's local team to ensure arrangements are in place to sustain safe services as further action takes place."