Unite members in Northumbria angry after managers slash mileage payments


Northumbria NHS Foundation Trust could face legal action over plans that could see staff being hundreds of pounds worse off when they use their own cars for work purposes.

Unite said plans by the trust to put health visitors, midwives, community nursery nurses, district nurses and speech and language therapists on the public transport rate assumes that NHS professionals should be using trains and buses to visit patients and clients in a predominately rural area.

The trust has told staff that from 1 April they will be paid 24p a mile – the public transport rate – and not the current 47p a mile when they use their vehicle for work purposes.

Unite regional officer Martin Wright said: “I’m very disappointed that management are imposing this after a failure to agree with the trades unions. This is being imposed unilaterally. They are offering the lease car option for staff, instead of paying the proper private mileage rate, but that may not be suitable or financially feasible for everyone.

“If the trust presses ahead with this, it could face a legal challenge for unlawful deduction of wages at an employment tribunal.

“Northumberland is a very rural county and many health staff need their cars to do their jobs. At a time when, petrol prices are at a record high and the cost of motoring entering the realms of the prohibitive, the trust’s plans are unacceptable.

“This would cost our members hundreds of pounds a year just to do their jobs.’

Unite national officer for health Barrie Brown said: “This proposal will be to detriment of health staff, and ultimately, the patients they serve, and be contrary to the letter and spirit of the national Agenda for Change agreement.

“If this trust is intent on imposing the public transport rate – i.e. that it would be more appropriate to travel by bus or train – you could have the hypothetical case of a community midwife, waiting in the rain for a late-running bus, while a woman goes into labour. This would be plainly unacceptable, if not bizarre.”

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