Radiographers strike over pay rise refusal

Strike: Radiographers outside the Royal Preston Hospital
Strike: Radiographers outside the Royal Preston Hospital
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Radiographers at Royal Preston Hospital were among those to join the picket line in a national strike to protest over the Government’s refusal of a one per cent pay rise.

Around 20 radiographers voiced their feelings outside the main entrance of the hospital during the four hour strike.

They became the latest group of NHS workers staff to strike following action by midwives, nurses, ambulance crews and other health workers in protest at the Government’s controversial decision not to accept a recommended one per cent pay rise for all health workers.

Diagnostic and therapeutic radiographers at the trust took part in the strike but union chiefs say they worked hard with management to make sure emergency and life saving treatment was not affected.

Andrea Saumptally, a diagnostic radiographer and union representative for the Society of Radiographers, said: “The main reason for this strike is the one per cent pay rise which has only been offered to those at the very top of the pay scale.

“Out of the last five years, on paper, we have received a pay rise once so have not had a pay rise for four years. But in practical terms, some of those at the top of the pay scale have not had a pay rise for 10 years.

“On top of that, they have changed our pension rights and every week, we have to work two-and-a-half hours extra. So it is not just the one per cent pay rise we are protesting about, it is a combination of everything. In Scotland and Wales, the one per cent pay rise has been consolidated on to pay so it is permanent and goes on to your pension.

“In my role as radiographer, I am contracted to do on call duties and sometimes, I have to drive to the hospital three or four times. However, they have halved our travel expenses from 56p a mile to 28p.

“Our issues are not with the trust or management - they are with the Government.”

A Department of Health spokesman said: “We are disappointed that trade unions are taking industrial action.

“NHS staff are our greatest asset, and we’ve increased the NHS budget to pay for over 12,500 more clinical staff since 2010. We cannot afford a pay rise in addition to increments - which disproportionately reward the highest earners - without risking frontline jobs.”