NHS staff will not go one strike after a deal was reached with Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Over 450 health care assistants (HCA) and medical imaging assistants (MIA) had been preparing to go on strike for 75 hours next week amid a dispute over back pay.

However, UNISON has now confirmed the trust has agreed to give staff a “substantial” pay rise and up to five years’ back pay.

UNISON regional organiser David McKnight said: “We're pleased that the trust have listened and offered what HCAs have asked for since the beginning of their campaign.

“They have been working above their pay band for far too long. We’re glad that the trust has averted strike action by recognising this and entering discussions to achieve a fair settlement to compensate for years of exploitation.

“These workers, mainly low-paid women, have been really hit by the cost-of-living crisis while being grossly underpaid by their employer. Backdating pay to April 2018 will have a huge beneficial impact on theirs and their families’ lives.

“Wirral and Warrington and Halton trusts should follow East and Mid Cheshire’s lead by compensating their staff fairly.

“It’s an outrage that NHS trusts have been ripping-off their lowest paid for so many years. We’re very glad that Mid Cheshire has joined other trusts in doing the right thing.”

HCAs and MIAs assist nursing staff at Leighton Hospital in Crewe, the Elmhurst Centre in Winsford, and Victoria Infirmary in Northwich.

They are currently paid at band two.

Staff at this level should only undertake personal care, such as supporting patients with toileting, bathing and feeding.

As a result, they are paid £1,800 a year less than the band three rate.

However, a survey by UNISON found that the majority on band two pay had been “routinely” undertaking clinical tasks such as monitoring blood, electrogram tests, and inserting cannulas.

This prompted over 400 staff to sign a collective grievance, demanding that the trust match agreements made in seven trusts in Greater Manchester to provide back pay to April 2018.

Trust CEO Ian Moston initially promised to do so, a pledge UNISON claim he went back on, leading to 99 per cent of workers voting to take strike action, which was due to start on Monday (October 16).

Today (October 13), UNISON and the trust reached an agreement-in-principle that, subject to a vote by union members, will see affected workers promoted to band three, with back pay to April 1, 2018.

Sue, a HCA at Leighton Hospital said: "Getting a pay rise and fair back pay is a big deal for us.

“We've been working so hard for low pay for years.

“It's a huge relief that our trust is finally recognising our efforts, we just wanted to get paid fairly for the work we do.

“We’re so happy that the trust has made this offer, and we can get back to doing what we love and looking after our patients."