UNISON porters at the Royal Devon and Exeter hospital say they will take three days of strike action in November in their dispute over management plans to impose 12-hour shifts on them.
But they added that the move – which follows two days of successful action last weekend – will be lifted if management withdraws the threat.
But despite talks being called at conciliation service ACAS, and meetings scheduled, the trust management has not responded to repeated calls to return to negotiations without the 12-hour shift plan.
The strike action is scheduled to go ahead from 6pm on Friday 3 November until 6am on Monday 6 November.
The porters are among some of the lowest-paid staff in the NHS, but 96% of them voted for industrial action. They currently work an eight-hour shift and are concerned that moving to the longer shifts would mean increased fatigue and sickness, affecting patient care.
“Porters are determined not to let the trust force through dangerous and unnecessary 12 hour shifts,” said UNISON regional organiser Oliver Foster-Burnell.
“They do not like striking, not least because they lose a day of their already low pay. But UNISON porters will strike again if the trust refuses to listen.
“After 18 months of trying to convince the trust to compromise, this is their only option.”
UNISON South West has also launched a Respect Our Porters campaign to support the workers concerned.
You can show your support for these UNISON members by:
- donating to the Royal Devon and Exeter health branch hardship fund (see panel);
- signing the online petition at http://unsn.uk/RespectOurPorters;
- posting a solidarity message on social media with the campaign hashtag #RespectOurPorters;
- downloading a poster and leaflet from the campaign page on the UNISON South West website.
Support the Royal Devon and Exeter porters by donating to their hardship fund.
Send a cheque to the branch at:
UNISON Office, Baker House , Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Trust, Barrack Road, Exeter EX2 5DW
Or make a direct donation to the branch account
- Account Name: UNISON Royal Devon and Exeter Health 10296 Branch
- Account Number: 20323929
- Sort Code: 60-83-01