East Sussex NHS Trust halt 2019 parking charge increases following GMB intervention
East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust Chief Executive has announced a halt to 2019 car parking charge increases and review of parking initiatives after GMB intervention.
A huge well done to GMB members and ESHT staff for standing up to argue how unfair the Trust staff parking increases was, says GMB Southern
GMB members and staff working at both Eastbourne District General Hospital and Hastings Conquest Hospitals have been informed from a staff memo from East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust Chief Executive Adrian Bull that the Trust have cancelled planned 2019 staff parking increases. [See notes to editors for copy of Trust memo and previous GMB press releases] The announcement comes as a result of staff, public and GMB pressure over the effect such an unfair increase would have upon their ability to afford parking at work.
The concern remains for GMB and staff that this year’s increase is still unaffordable for many at the trust, but acknowledgement from the Chief Exec that they have partially listened to staff is the first step in correcting a total injustice to those least able to afford such staff parking increases.
GMB will now consult its members and ESHT staff whether this step by the Trust is deemed satisfactory to them or that the campaign for full reversal of parking charges is to continue. Meanwhile, GMB have temporarily postponed the planned lunch time demos on September 4 and 5 outside the DGH and Conquest hospitals for a later date yet to be agreed.
During that time, GMB will further offer to meet the Chief Exec again to promote on behalf of staff, a discussion for a full reversal of the current 2018 increase.
Gary Palmer, GMB Regional Organiser said:
"A huge well done to GMB Members and ESHT staff for standing up to argue how unfair the Trust staff parking increases was!
"The proposed 66% and 100% parking increase, along with the recent disappointing NHS pay increase for hardworking staff have seen many of our members and staff worse off. Once again this makes them feel unsupported by the employer and a government who should appreciate them the most.
"We have yet to be provided with information which backs up Dr Bull’s claim that additional funding needs to be sort for improvements to parking, above and beyond the £1,250,000 yearly minimum profit already being pocketed by the Trust. Until such time we will treat such claims by the Trust cautiously.
"I remain concerned though that the trust briefing doesn’t go far enough in reversing exorbitant parking increases and that this might only be a temporary 1-year reprieve. But there is no reason why, when it raises its ugly head on the Trust agenda again, that this time the other staff side organisations might decide to join with the GMB Union and Trust staff to oppose its implementation. We might have been celebrating more success if they had done so in the first place.
"We are now to consult members and seek the views of ESHT Staff to see how we might proceed, but in the meantime whilst doing so we are to suspend the lunch time demos for the time being only."
Contact: Gary Palmer 07552 165 950 or Mark Turner GMB Branch Secretary 07860 787 973 or GMB Southern Press Office 07970 114 762
Notes to Editors
1] Memo sent on behalf of East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust Chief Executive Adrian Bull
As a member of the Joint Staff Committee you will be aware that we increased the staff car parking tariffs on the 1st August to £1.50 for full time staff and to 80p for concession and part time staff. The announcement about this increase also stated that there would be a further increase to £2 for full time staff and £1 for concessions and part time staff on the 1st April 2019.
The April increases have been a source of much discussion and concern at our meetings and I value the feedback you have given me. Having listened to your comments along with direct feedback from individual members of staff and at the various staff meetings or forums that I attend, we have decided to cancel the further increase on the 1st April 2019.
The challenges that we have with car parking remain. The Trust is not able to have sufficient spaces for everyone to park at these sites. I am concerned to ensure that members of staff who are obliged to bring their car to work for personal, operational or clinical reasons are able to do so while those who do not need to do so are able to find alternative means of travel.
We are actively working with partner organisations to secure additional car parking spaces for members of staff which need to be funded. At the same time we are introducing and extending schemes that encourage colleagues to use alternative methods of travel to our sites such as pool cars for work travel, ‘park and stride’ schemes, negotiations with Stagecoach for improved bus services, subsidised bike hire and free bike maintenance, motor scooter purchase, walking maps, and car sharing.
Increasing staff car parking charges is always a difficult decision and not one that is taken lightly. I hope that our decision to cancel the increase proposed for the 1st April 2019 shows that the Trust has listened to the concerns that have been raised by the JSC and members of staff. I am glad that people felt able to raise their concern directly with me in line with our organisational values.
The effect of all the initiatives that are being undertaken will be reviewed at the end of 2019 and consideration will be given at that time as to whether any increase in parking charges should be introduced in 2020
Dr Adrian Bull
2] Previous GMB press releases
"GMB meeting with East Sussex NHS Trust fails to find agrement over excessive staff parking increases" (22 August 2018)
"GMB announce lunchtime demos to reverse East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust parking charge increases" (16 August 2019)