Thousands of Essex health staff face an effective pay cut as hospitals bosses plan to reintroduce parking charges, UNISON warns today.
Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust (MSEFT), which runs Broomfield, Basildon and Southend hospitals, has told UNISON officials it wants to reintroduce staff parking charges from 1 August.
Charges were scrapped during the pandemic and a number of trusts have promised to keep parking free for workers until at least 2023, says the union.
A parking permit would likely cost staff around 0.5% of their salary, says UNISON, a cost they can ill afford with fuel, food and energy prices going through the roof. It would cost the lowest paid health staff around £100 a year, £130 for a newly qualified nurse and around £230 for more senior medical staff.
Staff already face a serious erosion in their living standards with the government suggesting a pay rise of just 3% this year when official inflation is already above 9%.
Early starts and late finishes mean many drivers are unable to use public transport, the union warns.
More than 2,000 people have already signed a UNISON petition launched this week calling on the trust to scrap its plans to reintroduce parking charges.
UNISON Eastern regional organiser Sam Older said: “With the cost of petrol, food and energy all going through the roof and a government committed to keeping NHS wages down, the last thing health workers need is a new charge on coming to work.
“MSEFT is already struggling to recruit and retain staff, with slightly higher wages available inside the M25 and survey after survey showing how fed up the workforce is. Taking more than £100 out of their pay is no way to improve things.
“The trust should slam the brakes on these proposals. It’s not right to charge healthcare staff for coming to work.”