Healthcare workers in the sterilisation and disinfection units at Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board (ABMU) hospitals have accepted the health board’s proposals to boost pay rates by up to £1,900, bringing to a close a two month industrial dispute.
UNISON had argued that staff at the Morriston, Singleton and Princess of Wales hospitals were unfairly treated when compared to people doing exactly the same job at neighbouring health boards. Across a year, ABMU staff were worse off by between £466 and £1,879 depending on their length of service in the post. Healthcare workers were so infuriated they took a day’s strike action. UNISON has described the improved pay award as a powerful example of what ‘people power’ can achieve.
Mark Turner, UNISON organiser for ABMU said,
“The health board’s proposals mean a significant increase in pay for the overwhelming majority of employees in the sterilisation and disinfection units. It will boost their pay packets by hundreds of pounds and in some cases, nearly two thousand pounds. These healthcare workers just wanted to be paid what they deserve. We were able to show that they were paid far less than peers doing exactly the same job with the same responsibilities elsewhere in Wales.
“In general, we work well in partnership with the health board but in this case, hospital workers were exasperated at senior executives’ stalling tactics during more than two years of discussions. The employees’ determination to take strike action forced the board to pay them what is rightfully theirs. This is a great advert for why everyone should belong to a trade union. Working collectively, we can improve your working conditions.”
Fiona Isaac, local UNISON representative at Morriston hospital said,
“I want to say a big thank you and congratulate everyone in the sterilisation and disinfection units at the Morriston, Singleton and Princess of Wales. We have demonstrated that you don’t have to accept something when an employer is in the wrong. You can challenge it and by standing together, win.”
UNISON has said it looks forward to a new and positive working relationship with the health board.