UNISON calls on East of England Ambulance service to honour its commitment to pay the living wage to all staff

UNISON in the East of England Ambulance Service is leading a campaign to support 22 staff who are currently earning below the living wage. Earlier this year, with the support of Chief Executive Anthony Marsh, staff in the Trust paid below the living wage had their pay uplifted under a local agreement.  The union say a group of staff who have recently transferred to the Trust have been denied their right to receive the Living Wage.

Branch Secretary Fraer Stevenson said, “It’s really disappointing that the Board is not willing to extend the living wage and NHS terms and conditions to 22 patient-facing staff who recently transferred into West Essex and Ipswich. We believe this is linked to a possible change of Chief Executive, and the Board moving in a less supportive direction.

“It’s been difficult to get the Trust to share information about the recent transfer of staff; we were  initially told they were earning above the living wage, which is not the case.

“Most of these staff are in patient-facing roles, some are working 45 hours a week with few or no breaks due to the pressure of work. They feel undervalued. Our members work really hard and they deserve to be paid a wage they can live on.

“The inequality between those at the top of the trust and those in patient-facing roles appears to be getting ever wider. The Trust has recently stepped outside NHS terms and conditions to financially better support a group of band 8 managers in the recent restructure, without any discussions with UNISON – and yet they are refusing to support 22 patient facing staff who are earning below the living wage.

“We have appealed to Anthony Marsh, the Trusts Chief Executive to assist, although it’s not clear given the recent recruitment for a new Chief Executive if the Board will listen.”

Earlier this year UNISON surveyed 541 staff which highlighted the perception of staff towards layers of management.  Only 2% said the Trust Chair and the non-executive directors were honest, open, or understood staff issues, and just 1% said they thought they cared about staff welfare and are trusted.


Further comment:

Fraer Stevenson UNISON Branch Secretary – 07900 808563

Editors note:

  1. The Living Wage is set by the Living Wage Foundation and is £7.85 per hour outside London.
  2. Hundreds of staff have signed a petition to the Secretary of State for Health calling for help to keep Anthony Marsh in the East of England Ambulance Trust long term. The petition states, ‘there are already discussions to remove some of the supportive change we have seen, and this is severely impacting morale… we do not believe our Board is acting in our best interests.’ http://www.petitionbuzz.com/petitions/sosceo
  3. The 22 staff have transferred in from Medical Services and Thames.
  4. Financially in any contract bid the Trust would need to budget for moving staff onto NHS terms and conditions – any new staff directly recruited to replace staff who leave or do not transfer, would have NHS terms applied.
  5. Survey results: https://putbacktheheart.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/trust-wide-results-staffperception-of-decision-makers.pdf