Recovery assistants in Sheffield win much-needed pay uplift

The pay uplift comes as a result of a campaign to get the low paid care workers re-banded to better reflect their role

elderly woman with carer

After two years of strong campaigning led by UNISON, 120 low paid recovery assistants at Sheffield Teaching hospitals have been re-banded, meaning they will earn around £1,800 more each year.

The re-banding, taking the care workers from a ‘band 2’ to a ‘band 3’ on Agenda for Change terms, has been backdated to December 2019 and will result in significant backpay for the workers.

Over half of the workers are UNISON members and the campaign proved to be an organising opportunity to recruit and sustain a strong group of stewards to help lead on the issue.

Speaking of the victory, UNISON area organiser Jack Hemingway said: “This result is down to the hard work and dedication of UNISON stewards and members who have fought for this re-banding for more than two years.

“They have shown great strength and solidarity over the course of this long dispute which has now been rewarded with a well-deserved uplift.”

The campaign, which started in 2019, highlighted the expansion of the role of recovery assistants – who support the care needs of patients who are about to go into or have just come out of hospital – to include administering medication and many other duties which were well beyond the scope of a ‘band 2’ position.

After a long process, delayed by the pandemic, which included a formal dispute by UNISON as well as a staff and union working group, managers agreed to put forward a job description which more accurately reflected the role of the recovery assistants. Last month it was confirmed that this job description was graded at a ‘band 3’.

UNISON stewards Nicola Walker, Mark Turner, Mick Todd, Hayden Leigh, Danielle Casley said: “We have waited a long time for this much needed re-banding. Throughout this process, all we have ever asked for is a fair rate for the varied and complex duties we undertake.

“The NHS and local community rely on recovery assistants and now with this increased rate of pay, we can feel much more valued for the job we do.”