Health unions in Norfolk are holding a demonstration next week in protest at a hike in parking charges at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King’s Lynn.
According to the Unite, many of the hospital’s 3,000 staff face a doubling of charges by April 2020, as previously reported by Nursing Times last month.
So far, over 1,400 employees have signed a petition calling for Queen Elizabeth Hospital King’s Lynn NHS Foundation Trust to reconsider the increases.
The protest is due to take place on Tuesday morning to coincide with the trust board’s latest meeting to discuss the increases due to come into effect on 1 June.
According to the union, the trust receives over £1.1m a year in parking revenue but only spends £260,000 on the cark park.
Under the planned increase, staff on pay bands 5-7 can expect to pay £22 a month, up from £15.96. This will rise to £27.50 in April 2019 and £33 in April 2020.
The union said the increases will wipe out the potential pay rise that NHS staff may receive, with employees working nights, weekends and bank holidays – when public transport is few and far between – particularly hard hit.
“Staff are being used as a milch cow because of the serious current underfunding”
Mark Robinson, Unite health lead officer for health in East Anglia, said: “Staff are being used as a milch cow because of the serious current underfunding of the NHS by government.
“These swingeing hikes would see QEH staff paying more than at the overwhelming majority of other trusts in East Anglia, a region notorious for poor public transport links,” he said.
Unless the trust removes the proposed increases, Unite and other health unions will consider balloting their members about industrial action, he said.
A spokesman for the Queen Elizabeth Hospital King’s Lynn NHS Foundation Trust said: “We are continuing to talk to the trade unions.”
The protest is scheduled to take place at the Inspire Centre at 10am on Tuesday 29 May.