Western Health and Social Care Trust (WHSCT) workers collectively owed thousands of punds in back pay are still awaiting payment, seven months after they were giving assurances they would receive it.
The wage bill, which is understood to be hundreds of thousands of pounds, has been accrued by the WHSCT and centres on issues surrounding the regrading of job roles. In effect, this means that some staff members are owed four, and in some cases, five figure sums of money.
Specifically, the pay claims relate to operating theatre orderlies who are responsible for taking patients to and from operating theatres for surgical procedures.
Theatre orderlies were initially told that their roles would not be re-evaluated nor indeed regraded as part of the National Health Service’s (NHS) Agenda for Change programme back in 2004. Under that ruling this meant they did not qualify for a pay rise.
However, after a successful campaign for their rights to be recognised in the same manner as other NHS workers, theatre orderlies were last year told they would be regraded.
In Derry, this ruling applied to 23 staff members which meant that the health service u-turn on pay would see them benefit financially. But, despite assurances as far back as September last year, the affected staff members have still not been remunerated.
One of the affected workers who contacted the ‘Journal’, and who did not wish to be named said that the health service staff feel badly let down by the delay in payment.
“To be honest, everyone is just disgusted. We were told we would have this money last year. After we were told that, we expected the money to be in our next pay packet or at least the one after that.
“But, months have gone by and there’s been nothing. A lot of people were waiting on the money before Christmas and it didn’t come. Now, it’s another three months after Christmas and seven months in total since we were told we were getting it and we still have nothing,” he continued.
The staff member also said that morale has been badly hit because of the let down by their employers.
He said: “We were told that it would definitely be in our accounts before 2014. So, it’s not good enough that we’re still waiting. the mood in the whole place has been down because of it.”
In response to the situation a spokesperson for the WHSCT contended that calculations on the amounts owed would not be completed until March 31 and said the payments due would soon be met.