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Ambulance drivers protest against ‘poor treatment’ at Newham Hospital

INSULTED NHS patient transport staff said that they are being bullied into accepting inferior contracts as they demonstrated outside a hospital in London’s East End today.

The ambulance care assistants and patient transport service workers, who drive vulnerable people to and from hospital, rallied against their “poor treatment” outside Newham Hospital, run by Barts Health NHS Trust.

Their union, GMB, said that bosses should be ashamed of their conduct as it accused them of using a consultation on harmonising the employees with NHS terms and conditions to impose a new rotating shift pattern last week.

The unwelcome changes could leave staff worse off and have already led to some resigning, said the union, which slammed bosses for showing “disregard for core NHS values.”

Ahead of the protest, a worker who did not wish to be named said: “Management have caused this stress: they don’t respect low-paid workers.

“We have been clapped and then slapped,” the GMB member said, in a reference to the Covid-19 pandemic-related Clap for Carers initiative. 

The union’s London region organiser Krissy O’Hagan said that bosses are using “underhand tactics and applying unnecessary pressure to try and force through changes which deskill [staff] and leave many financially worse off.

“Management has made no proper attempts to meet and listen to our members, many of whom have worked for decades with Barts.

“GMB believes that senior managers should be investigated for disregarding the terms and conditions of our members.”

Workers also plan to demonstrate at other sites run by the trust, including Whipps Cross Hospital and health centres in Canary Wharf, the union confirmed. 

A trust spokesperson claimed that the workers, who are “pivotal to the care we provide to our patients,” will not be downgraded and are set to receive higher pay. 

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