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Christmas Eve walkout planned by hospital security guards.

Security guards at Birmingham's Heart-t lands Hospital plan a Christmas Eve walkout after complaining they have worked for nothing for a week.

Around 30 staff on the payroll of APCOA UK accused the firm of chopping a full week's wages to save costs.

They said the move would leave them all up to pounds 300 worse off at Christmas and facing the prospect of not having the cash paid to them until April.

Their union, UNISON, is in talks with the security firm over the pay wrangle, which is set to be repeated again next month. Workers said they would walk out tomorrow in a move they said would threaten public safety.

UNISON regional officer Ray Salmon said: "The company has changed the cutoff point to get the wages in and instead of five weeks' salary, they have four weeks. To lose a week's salary before Christmas is unacceptable. I am absolutely disgusted. This is typical of the way APCOA treats its staff, particularly at Heartlands. We seem to have a constant battle to get the money off them which the staff deserve.

"To stitch them up at Christmas is disgraceful.

This is a cost-saving exercise and the people who pay for it are the staff. They have done five weeks' work and ended up with four weeks' salary. It is not good enough to pay the money in the spring when they have promised their kids something for Christmas."

One security guard, who asked not to be named, said: "They have said 'we are not paying you five weeks, we are going to pay you in April.' By the end of March, we will have been paid only 50 weeks instead of 52. We are already down nearly pounds 300 each.

"We are all looking to go out on strike on Christmas Eve, which will threaten public safety. Psychiatric patients attend the hospital - I have been threatened by people with knives."

Heart of England NHS Trust spokeswoman Lisa Dunn said: "We believe APCOA has a schedule of payments known by the staff which means that in some months they receive four weeks' payment, and in others five weeks. December was originally set for five weeks, but was revised in November. As soon as we heard staff had a concern regarding this arrangement we raised this with APCOA and are working with our contractor to ensure any concerns raised by staff are quickly addressed.

"The trust greatly values the work of the security staff who work for APCOA."

Nobody from APCOA could be contact-t ed.
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Dec 23, 2010
Words:425
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