Portsmouth health staff on strike over pay

Paige Howitt

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Midwives, ambulance workers, porters and operating theatre staff are among those who have staged an NHS walk-out this morning over a pay dispute.

Members of unions GMB, Unison, and the Royal College of Midwifery (RCM) have set up picket lines at St James’ Hospital, in Locksway Road, Milton, St Mary’s Hospital, in Milton Road, Queen Alexandra Hospital, in Cosham, the Gosport War Memorial Hospital and outside the South Central Ambulance Service, North Harbour Resource Centre, in Western Way, Portsmouth.

Nicola Nixon, regional coordinator for the GMB was outside QA, along with around 70 workers, who had formed a picket line.

She said: ‘We do not take the decision to go on strike lightly, but we felt this is something we need to do.

‘A one per cent pay increase is not enough considering the rising cost of living.

‘We have made sure patient-safety has not been put at risk, but it’s also important we make a stand against the pay offer.’

Chants of ‘What do we want? Fair pay. When do we want it? Now’ were being said outside QA.

Meanwhile cars passing strikers outside the ambulance station in Portsmouth beeped their horns in support of the action.

As reported, workers have joined a nationwide stoppage by NHS staff who are unhappy they have only been given a one per cent pay rise, which doesn’t even cover their pension.

Midwives are also on strike.

The Royal College of Midwives said midwives will be there for women giving birth, but ante-natal and post-natal appointments will be affected.

Jenny Ford, branch secretary of Unison’s health branch, told The News: ‘We expect a good turn-out and we already have a good-turn out at St James.

‘The government this year has given us a non-consolidation bonus of one per cent.

‘The facility staff, the domestic supporters, are on £15,000 a year, and on that they are only getting one per cent.

‘It is the equivalent of £12.50 a month, and that’s the first pay rise in five years.’

Today’s four-hour stoppage started at 7am.