NHS staff at Mid Cheshire hospitals are set to go on strike.

Over 450 healthcare assistants (HCA) and medical imaging assistants (MIA) at Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust will take 75 hours of strike action next week.

It comes after 99 per cent of workers voted in favour of taking action to demand back pay for years of working above their pay grade.

UNISON claims workers at the trust are paid up to £2,000 less than they should each year because they perform duties and tasks above their pay band.

UNISON North West regional organiser, David McKnight, said: “These workers have shown years of dedication by providing outstanding care to people across Mid Cheshire.

“Members are really disappointed that the trust has refused to pay HCAs what they’re owed and seems to think they can get away with providing care on the cheap.”

Northwich Guardian: MCHFT is responsible for Leighton Hospital in Crewe, the Elmhurst Centre in Winsford and Victoria Infirmary in NorthwichMCHFT is responsible for Leighton Hospital in Crewe, the Elmhurst Centre in Winsford and Victoria Infirmary in Northwich (Image: Supplied)

Sue, a HCA at Leighton Hospital, added; “We have had enough of not being paid for the work we do.

"We’ve gone above and beyond for years, carrying out duties at a higher banding than we’re paid for.

"We have found our voices to finally speak up for what we deserve. Our trust should be ashamed to force its HCAs to have to go on strike for what they deserve.”

The strikes, the first at the trust on this issue, will start from 7am on Monday 16, Wednesday 18 and Friday 20, in each case lasting until 8am the following day.

A survey by UNISON found that HCAs on low pay bands are being made to perform clinical tasks beyond their salaries, such as taking blood, electrocardiogram tests and inserting cannulas.

Several other trusts across the North West have already moved HCAs to the higher pay band and given back pay to April 2018 while neighbouring East Cheshire has recently made a formal offer to match the agreements in Greater Manchester.

MCHFT CEO Ian Moston also signed a pledge to match the Greater Manchester deals when he met with workers in April this year.

READ MORE: NHS healthcare assistants win back-dated pay rise after UNISON campaign

During a meeting in August, the trust made an offer for “consideration of any retrospective re-banding for our eligible HCA and MIA workforce to go back to January 1, 2020”.

This offer was rejected by UNISON.

“East Cheshire have demonstrated that this can be resolved, and if MCHFT insist that their workers are worth less than those in East Cheshire, then they can’t be surprised if workers move to a trust that values them more,” added Mr McKnight.

“It’s time the trust stopped taking these workers for granted. We call on them to do the right thing and to match other trusts’ agreements to avoid strike action.”

Northwich Guardian: Trust CEO Ian Motson signed a pledge earlier this yearTrust CEO Ian Motson signed a pledge earlier this year (Image: UNISON)

Responding, deputy CEO and chief finance officer of MCHFT, Russ Favager, said: “Our HCAs and MIAs are a vital part of our workforce, and we value the work they do. We are listening to them, and it is our position that they should be paid the right banding for the work we are asking them to do.

“The trust remains committed to working collaboratively with UNISON and we would like to reassure our valued HCAs, MIAs and our local communities that we will be doing everything we can to minimise the impact on our patients.

“During this period of local industrial action we have robust plans in place to ensure that patients remain safe in our care. Where planned services have been affected, patients have been contacted and informed that their appointments will be rescheduled. If they have not heard from us they should continue to attend as arranged.”

Visiting at hospitals will be open from 8am to 10pm during each day of strike action.

The public are urged to keep the emergency department at Leighton Hospital “free for genuine emergencies” and to use alternative services like GPs, pharmacy and NHS 111 online.