WORKFORCE: Maintenance staff at Aintree University Hospital Foundation Trust have gone on strike in a dispute over pay.

About 25 electricians, plumbers, technicians and maintenance staff who are members of the Unite union started their strike on Tuesday 27 May and it was due to run until Tuesday 3 June.

Unite said the dispute originated from a decision last year to remove a national recruitment and retention payment (RRP) designed to ensure staff received wages comparable to outside industry.

The staff are working-to-rule and it is the second time they have taken strike action in May.

Unite regional officer Keith Hutson said: “The strike won’t affect patient care, however, it is causing disruption at the hospital as it means that managers are being forced to cover for our members and work out-of-hours.

“Unite has had talks with the trust management and our door remains open for a constructive dialogue to ensure that our hardworking members are not out-of-pocket,” Mr Hutson added.

A hospital spokesman said: “There was a national agreement between unions and the NHS organisations to end the RRP for this group of staff. There are no longer any national RRP, which were designed to attract hard-to-recruit groups.

“Aintree has made a fair offer to staff involved, taking into account NHS terms and conditions, such as holiday entitlement, and pension benefits, which are generally very competitive. We are continuing our dialogue with Unite, and the decision on our offer is with their members.

“Contingency plans have been put in place so patients should not notice any difference to services.”