Security staff at Blackburn and Burnley hospitals have called off looming strike action after the NHS succumbed to pay demands.

Workers at both Royal Blackburn Hospital and Burnley General Hospital were expected to begin a 48-hour walk out on Sunday (April 18) from 7am.

Some 30 staff balloted for industrial action, with every single one voting in favour of striking.

But the staff - who are employed by private contractor Engie Services Ltd within East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust - have cancelled the industrial action.

This was after the NHS trust said it was bringing the security service in-house; meaning hospital security workers will be employed by the NHS trust and receive NHS pay rates.

Currently, Engie pays hospital workers the minimum wage, which trade union Unison says is leaveing some staff in east Lancashire up to £6,000 per year worse off compared to security guards employed on NHS terms.

The contract for security services between Engie and the trust will end within the next three to six months.

After this, the hospital security guards will transfer to health service employment and will be entitled to full NHS Agenda for Change pay and conditions.

Engie and the NHS Trust have also come to an agreement which means that hospital security workers will receive the NHS hourly rate and overtime rate until the TUPE transfer takes place.

Unison North West regional organiser Rebecca Lumberg said: “This is an excellent victory for this group of dedicated hospital workers, who stuck together and rightly insisted that they were part of the NHS team.

“Hospital security workers keep patients and staff safe.

"They have put themselves at increased risk working during the pandemic and they fully deserve the NHS pay and conditions that they will now receive.

“We commend the commitment and hard-work undertaken to ensure that this issue was positively resolved before strike action was taken.

"We look forward to working in partnership with the Trust to make sure that the full benefits of taking this service in-house are felt by both patients and staff.”

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