Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union representing over 100,000 members in the health service has accused the South Tees NHS Trust of treating workers with contempt, after increasing the cost of staff car parking, despite having lost an employment tribunal on the matter.

Unfair deduction of wages

In May 2018, Unite won an employment tribunal case on behalf of its member Mr M Sandford, a clinical technologist, at South Tees NHS Trust. Mr Sandford had claimed an unfair deduction of wages, after the trust increased the cost of his staff car parking permit by £2.30 a month without negotiation, bypassing normal procedures.

The tribunal found in the favour of Unite’s member and awarded him £6.90 for the three months where the excessive charge had been wrongly deducted from his wages.

Entered negoitations

Following the tribunal verdict Unite entered into negotiations with the trust on behalf all its other members who were also having the payment unfairly deducted from their wages.

Talks to resolve the matter continued until early December when the trust announced that they would not be refunding the staff the amount they had deducted unfairly from workers’ wages. The trust claims the compensation which is understood to amount to £10,000 per month would open it to ‘extensive financial risk.’

Unite is demanding that the trust reverses its decision, complies with the tribunal’s ruling and refund all the affected staff.

Trust treating workers with contempt

Unite regional officer Pat McCourt said: “The trust is treating the tribunal process, staff and the unions with contempt. They have disregarded longstanding negotiating procedures and are acting in a reckless manner which risks the goodwill of staff, who are the backbone of the NHS.

“Unite took a test case, in order not to overburden the trust with a massive employment case. Once the tribunal ruled in Unite’s favour, it was incumbent on the trust to negotiate to ensure that these issues were resolved for the entire workforce.

“The fact the trust is trying to plug financial holes in the budget by fleecing its own staff is unforgivable, the trust should accept the tribunal decision and refund all affected staff without delay.”

The Trust’s actions come at a time when there is a national outcry against unfair and exploitative NHS parking charges, which are adding additional financial burdens on NHS staff and the public.


Notes to editors:

For more information please contact Unite communications officer Barckley Sumner on 020 3371 2067 or 07802 329235.

Email: barckley.sumner@unitetheunion.org

Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.