Anger at rise in parking fees

OUTRAGED staff at Pontefract Hospital have vowed to fight a controversial decision to raise parking charges – which would see full-time staff paying £240 a year to park at work.

Members of trade union Unison have launched a petition against Mid Yorkshire Hospital’s NHS Trust’s decision to raise the price of a monthly permit for staff who work more than 20 hours a week from £12.40 to £20 – an increase of around 60 per cent.

Adrian O’Malley, from Mid Yorkshire Unison, said staff at the trust’s three hospitals in Pontefract, Wakefield and Dewsbury had been collecting signatures against the move.

He said: “Staff here are angry. We expected the charges to go up at the rate of inflation, but not by 60 per cent. We’ve been inundated with complaints from staff – people who last year had a pay freeze. They feel like they’ve been kicked in the teeth.”

In a letter sent to hospital staff, seen by the Express, the trust said it had “worked hard” to look at ways to offset the price increase and proposed to introduce a “salary sacrifice” scheme from April 1, where the fee would be taken directly out of wages.

Employees would pay less tax, National Insurance and pension contributions becuase of the reduction which it said “may offset some or all” of the price increase.

But Mr O’Malley said: “We believe this will affect pension contributions and are getting advice. We are advising members not to accept it.”

Myles McQuade, hospitals development project director for estates and non-clinical services, said the trust had always tried to maintain staff parking rates that were as low as possible and over the last four years there had only been a “marginal price increase.”