Security staff at Southampton General Hospital are being attacked in the A&E department and went ahead with the second day of strike action on Good Friday 19 April.
Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union, said that talks with the employer Mitie Security Ltd made progress, but not sufficient for the strike to be called off.
Unite lead officer for health in the southeast Scott Kemp said: “We had talks with Mitie yesterday and some progress was made, but it was not sufficient for our members to suspend their Good Friday strike.”
National media attention has focused on the plight of the 21 security staff, who are being attacked on a regular basis by members of the public either under the influence of drink or drugs or with mental health problems. There has been a lack of adequate personal protective equipment (PPE), such as stab vests and safety restraints.
Scott Kemp added, “The company has increased its offer to £9.50 an hour, but our members are seeking £10.50 for security officers and £12.16 for supervisors for what is generally acknowledged to be a stressful and, on occasions, dangerous job.
“The company made no new offer on unsocial hours payments for weekend working and there was also no increase in sick pay forthcoming.
“However, most PPE issues are resolved pending further talks with the University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust.
“We have consulted with our members overnight and while there has been some progress with the company inching towards our position, it was considered that not enough ground had been made to justify calling off the strike on Good Friday.
“That said, Unite’s door remains open for constructive talks 24/7 over this Easter holiday period.”
The security staff voted unanimously for strike action and industrial action short of a strike. A 48-hour stoppage starting on the 3rd of May, a 24-hour strike on the 24th May and a further 72-hour strike on the 7th June is scheduled. All the strikes will start at 00.01. The first day’s strike action was taken on 5 April.