A STRIKE involving workers at Airedale Hospital has been officially called off after what the union describes as "a massive win" for outsourced NHS staff.

More than 150 porters, cleaners and caterers at the Steeton site were due to walk out in a dispute over pay.

The GMB said workers who were transferred from the health trust into wholly-owned subsidiary AGH Solutions in 2018 retained the same pay and conditions, whilst many new starters received lower rates for doing the same job.

But now a settlement has been reached, which the union says will see all colleagues paid the same.

Rachel Dix, GMB organiser, said: "The NHS trust intervened and pledged to increase the funding available to ensure an end to the two-tier workforce.

"This victory means the workers will see their pay significantly increase from the date of the agreement – with the hourly pay for the majority of workers going up from £9 to £9.77 this year, aligning fully with the NHS Band 2 hourly rates of pay by next year."

She added: "The strength and resolve of members at Airedale has been tremendous.

"For months AGH Solutions offered proposals without alignment and throughout members held fast, rejecting the insulting offers because they knew they could win better – and they did.

"This win represents another GMB victory against the erosion of pay, terms and conditions for NHS workers outsourced by local trusts.

"We will continue to fight back and win – together 'we shall not be moved'."

Blake Cooper, a porter at the hospital, said: "For those of us on the lower pay, it felt as if we were second-class citizens in our own place of work – like the hospital thought we were worth less and that we didn’t matter.

"Knowing you get paid less for the same work than some of your mates, especially when you have two kids to care for, is gut-wrenching. This deal means a lot to me.

"I'm proud of how we came together in the GMB, how we organised and how we supported one another and that together we won this deal."

David Moss, managing director of AGH Solutions, said he was pleased that a mutual agreement had been reached with the GMB and its members.

He added: "We were always keen to continue working in partnership with the GMB and I am glad we resolved this peacefully between us, without recourse to industrial action and disrupting services at this busy time for the NHS.

"Our focus now is on continuing to provide high-quality services to the trust and to further developing AGH Solutions as a successful organisation and a great place to work."