Sodexo union members vote for strike action

A walk out of cooks, cleaners and porters at Barnstaple hospital plus North Devon s community hospitals looks increasingly likely after Sodexo union members voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action.

A walk out of cooks, cleaners and porters at Barnstaple hospital plus North Devon's community hospitals looks increasingly likely after Sodexo union members voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action.

A ballot of almost 200 Unison members saw 97 per cent voting in favour of industrial action following a row over pay and conditions.

They are calling for sick pay plus better wage and holiday rates, which they say should have been implemented following a national agreement in October 2006 which should have brought them into line with Northern Devon Healthcare Trust colleagues.

There is also a call for those rates to be backdated to 2006.


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Unison are meeting today (Tuesday) with Sodexo management plus the trust in last minute talks overseen by the conciliation service ACAS in a bid to secure a deal.

If the talks fail Unison will meet its members tomorrow to discuss how the industrial action will be implemented. It seems likely any strike would occur in the early part of January.

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"Unison members do not want to embark on industrial action. We have been forced to take this step by the failure of the trust and Sodexo to implement a national agreement," said Helen Eccles, Unison regional organiser.

"Our members are simply asking for fair play. Three years is a long time to wait.

"Industrial action can be avoided if the patience of Unison Sodexo members is rewarded and we reach an agreement to fully implement this long overdue agreement.

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