A hike in parking charges has angered hospital workers who have seen their wages fall so much that some are relying on food banks.
They learned about the increase in an email after it was brought in by the East Lancashire NHS Trust while negotiations were still going on about the plan.
Full-time staff will now have to pay £13.50 a month for a car space. The previous £9.60 fee had stayed the same since 2006, Anyone working less than 20 hours a week will have to pay £7.50 a month.
Unison East Lancs chairman Peter Dale said an email to staff announcing the increase had indicated the Trust could not continue to afford to meet the cost of the contractor’s fees which go up in line with the Retail Price Index.
“It came as quite a shock”, he said. “The Trust was in negotiation with the union and there had been discussions previously, but now they have turned round and said there will be no negotiation. There are quite a lot of irate people in Burnley and Blackburn, and there is also an intention to extend the charges to other sites at Pendle and Clitheroe in future.
“People are very, very unhappy. The union has raised the matter, but the real problem is that staff in hospitals have been badly treated by the Government. The Pay Revue Board recommended a 1% rise, but only those on the top band, 40%, have been given it. The rest got nothing. Some staff have not had any pay rise, and their wages have fallen by 10% since 2010. More and more of our people are turning to foodbanks.”
Kevin Moynes, head of Human Resources and Organisational Development, said: “East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust has recently reviewed and simplified our staff car parking charges to better reflect the cost to the Trust.
“Trust employees continue to benefit from subsidised parking charges and this is the first increase since 2006.
“In comparison, our staff parking charges remain lower, or equal to, other NHS Trusts in our area.
“To put the new charges into perspective, full-time Trust employees working 20 days a month pay the equivalent of 67p a day to park at one of the Trust’s hospitals.”