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Union hits out at JPH sick pay proposals

PUBLISHED: 16:29 18 September 2012 | UPDATED: 16:55 18 September 2012

The James Paget Hospital.

The James Paget Hospital.

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2011

Union leaders have gone up against bosses at a Norfolk hospital after claiming they will “attack” vulnerable staff with proposals to change sick pay arrangements.

Unison entered a dispute with the James Paget Hospital (JPH) today as it has said medical chiefs are attempting to cut staff terms and conditions regarding sick pay.

Jeffrey Keighley, regional organiser for Unison, said by law bosses had to pay staff Statutory Sick Pay and through a national agreement they also give workers extra ‘hospital’ pay while ill.

But he said the JPH was now looking to “step outside the national agreement” and reduce workers’ hospital entitlement by the amount of statutory pay they would receive, which would greatly reduce their net wages.

He added: “This is a serious issue. As you are more likely to go off sick long term due to a disability, to have the same amount of their statutory pay removed is an attack on staff who are vulnerable.

“We are strongly opposed to a situation where, say, a member of staff hurts their back and suffers chronic pain, and is then treated less favourably than colleagues in other hospitals on national agreements.”

Mr Keighley said he could not understand why medical bosses were considering the cuts as he had been told cases of long term sickness at the JPH were “minimal”.

He added: “The trust could easily reduce sickness by redeployment to more suitable work and making adjustments to those with a disability and we have recently offered to work with them to achieve this.”

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