Anger over plans to axe free parking for East Yorkshire hospital workers
HOSPITAL staff say they are furious about plans to change their terms and conditions, which include the introduction of car parking charges.
The proposed changes include losing free parking at East Yorkshire's two main hospitals.
A leaked correspondence shown to the Mail revealed car parking is one of a number of changes set to be made by Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs Castle Hill Hospital and Hull Royal Infirmary.
Other changes mentioned in the correspondence include reducing travel pay.
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The document ends with the line "these changes, particularly policy changes, will take place with or without union agreement".
Ray Gray, of Unison, said: "The thing that will really anger staff will be the free car parking.
With the trust being told it has to make significant savings of £99m over the next five years, Mr Gray says the atmosphere at the hospital is not a pleasant one.
Unison believes staff would have to pay about £30 per month for parking – going on what staff pay in Leeds.
He said: "It is not a nice place to be at the moment, but that isn't down to the staff, it is down to the Government.
"Some of the staff are the only breadwinners for their family. Pay freezes and having to pay for parking could be the difference between paying their mortgage or not.
"The NHS is dying and if it isn't given the kiss of life, it is going to die.
"A colleague of mine recently said, 'if we lose it, we won't ever get it back', and we need to remember that."
NHS workers, other than doctors, are paid according to a grading system known as the Agenda for Change.
The document was set up to lay out terms and conditions for workers and was negotiated by the Government, health departments, Unison and other health unions.
Certain changes have been made to the document nationally, including the amount of paid long-term sickness allowed.
Unison says the Hull and East Yorkshire Trust's own changes are not being properly discussed with them.
But hospitals trust chief executive Phil Morley says this isn't the case and that unions have been kept in the loop throughout.
He said: "We have £100m to save over the next five years.
"Some difficult decisions have to be taken to ensure we continue to provide high-quality patient services and we will continue to engage with the unions and our staff on every one of those decisions.
"The trust has held numerous discussions with Unison and other staff-side organisations about staff terms and conditions mentioned here.
"They are fully involved in all negotiation around on-call payments and protected pay for staff and they should have been communicating with their members.
"We are doing a significant amount of work around improving engagement with our staff and where car parking is concerned, we have invited every single member of staff to attend two engagement events to discuss how we provide staff car parking in the future."
When first published on February 15, 2013, this article stated that staff at Hull Royal Infirmary gave up two days of holiday for free parking. We are happy to clarify this is not the case. In return for free parking, staff exchanged two bank holiday Tuesdays (and the associated additional payments) for two days of annual leave. They lost no holiday days as part of this agreement.