Dispute over back pay in patient transport service could lead to industrial action

Sussex patient transport service vehicles before Coperforma took over the contract
Sussex patient transport service vehicles before Coperforma took over the contract
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Back pay owed to staff working in Sussex’s patient transport service could lead to industrial action.

Since Coperforma took over the PTS contract back in April patients have complained about numerous incidents of crews either not turning up or showing up late.

VM Langfords, one of its sub-contractors, went into administration and had several patient transport ambulances repossessed by bailiffs back in June.

This forced Coperforma to step in and ensure that staff were given the opportunity to transfer to its other sub-contractors.

However the GMB union claims that staff who transferred have not yet received an estimated total of £45,000 in overtime and unsocial hours payments, and is balloting its members on what action they are willing to take.

Gary Palmer, regional organiser for the GMB, said that ‘staff have had yet another slap in the face as promises to settle outstanding pay have come to nothing’.

He continued: “The staff’s patience has now worn thin and GMB members are understandably unwilling to wait for six months to get the money they are owed with the memory of their last employer’s liquidation still fresh in their minds.

“The time has come for GMB members to take action and this ballot must send a clear message from them to Coperforma: We have done right by you throughout this fiasco so do right by us now and pay us what we are owed.”

According to the GMB, staff may have to wait at least six months for outstanding back pay, holiday pay, and pension contributions.

The consultative ballot ends on Friday July 29.

Coperforma have been approached for comment.

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