Suffolk/Essex: Hospital workers to miss out on bank holiday pay for Royal Wedding festivities

CRITICISM has been levelled against two Suffolk hospitals which are refusing to pay their staff Bank Holiday rates on the day of the Royal Wedding.

Ipswich Hospital and West Suffolk Hospital will be paying staff their usual rate rather than any enhanced Bank Holiday pay despite workers having to miss out on a day off with their families and friends.

They are just two of a number of health bodies across the country which are arguing that under the national agreement for the NHS, called Agenda for Change, workers are entitled to eight Bank Holidays a year and therefore any extra days off should only attract a day in lieu rather than any additional pay.

But workers at other hospitals in the region – including the James Paget Hospital in Gorleston and Colchester General Hospital – have been told they will be given their usual Bank Holiday pay packet to make up for the inconvenience of working on April 29, the day Prince William will marry fiancee Kate Middleton.

Mark Robinson, East of England regional officer for Unite, said: “We think this is going against the spirit of the agreement and the staff at Ipswich Hospital are protesting against it through the unions.


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“We’re encouraging the hospitals to treat it as any other Bank Holiday. After all, why should somebody be paid less for working the Friday compared to the Monday Bank Holiday?

“There’s no real distinction between a Bank Holiday and a public holiday, and using that type of terminology is just going against the spirit of what’s been agreed.

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“Obviously, we will have the same problem again next year with the Queen’s diamond jubilee.”

Meanwhile, Lynn Ladbroke, regional communications officer for the Royal College of Nursing, said: “The enhancements associated with public holidays are paid for a reason – to compensate staff required for essential services for not being able to take the day as a holiday along with their families and everyone else, and for labour market reasons to ensure an adequately staffed service.”

A spokeswoman for Ipswich Hospital said staff would be getting a day back in lieu of the holiday – the same as those at West Suffolk Hospital – but would not receive additional pay because April 29 has been classed a public holiday rather than a Bank Holiday.

“We haven’t been given any extra funding to pay for this so it would have come from somewhere else, and our budgets are dedicated to patient care,” she said.

“For the staff at this hospital, we pay eight Bank Holidays a year so this would be an additional holiday. I think staff who work in the NHS are very different because their motivation is looking after patients, so some staff in our hospital have already volunteered to work.

“We must make sure that our wards are staffed and the emergency areas are covered, and I think that’s the biggest motivation for staff.”

Paramedics already have extra compensation built into their salary to allow for working unsocial hours such as weekends and Bank Holidays, while Suffolk Chamber of Commerce chief executive John Dugmore confirmed some businesses in the county are granting the day as a holiday but others are expecting staff to work as normal.

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