Unite has secured a lump sum payment for workers employed at Yorkshire Ambulance Service (YAS) Trust who were initially denied the one-off lump sum payment awarded to all other NHS workers, as they were employed on a bank-only contract.
Unite has also issued collective grievances at other NHS Trusts where workers have come forward to say the lump sum payment has not been paid. The union is calling on all NHS Trusts to follow Yorkshire’s lead and pay the lump sum payment.
Unite discovered that thousands of NHS workers, who operate solely through the bank system (effectively the NHS’ internal agency) had been denied the one-off lump sum payment that all other workers have received for the last financial year 2022/3.
The payment is worth between £1,655 and £3,789, depending on a workers’ pay band. Unite discovered that the government has told NHS trusts it is up to their own discretion whether to pay the lump sum to bank workers and unlike other workers it is not funding the payment.
After Unite tabled its collective grievance at YAS, it was quickly established that the trust was legally obliged to make the lump sum payment.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “The cynical ploy of saying that NHS bank staff – or any other NHS staff – should get a pay increase on the one hand but then refuse to fund it on the other is yet another case of ministers robbing Peter to pay Paul. Telling local trusts that they must find cash out of existing funds means one thing and one thing only: more cuts to a health service already on its knees. More cuts mean more overworked and demoralised staff walking away and on it goes.
“It is frankly shameful that the government refuses to fund decent NHS pay and NHS services fully – instead trying to play one off against the other. Let’s be very clear – this is a political choice. We are a £2.2 trillion economy so don’t tell me there is no more money that could be found.”
The exact number of affected workers remains unclear, however, YAS’ decision to pay the lump sum payment will benefit 527 workers. Meanwhile, at the University of Essex Hospital Trust where Unite has also tabled collective grievances, there are 2,619 bank-only workers.
Where workers have been denied the lump sum payment, Unite is issuing collective grievances on behalf of its members. If this does not resolve the matter, Unite is preparing to take cases for unfair deduction of wages and breach of contract against the NHS Trusts. Such cases would be heard in a county court rather than an employment tribunal.
Many workers choose to work entirely through the bank system as it means they have a greater choice of choosing their shifts and they can structure work around other commitments such as childcare or caring commitments.
Unite national lead officer Onay Kasab said: “Unite’s members who have been denied the promised payment will have the union’s complete support and we will take these cases all the way, including to the courts in order to achieve pay justice for our members.”