I WOULD like to commend the writer of last week’s letter who offered support to the members of staff at Salisbury District Hospital who are facing transfer to a subsidiary company. As mentioned, if the proposal is accepted then a large section of the workforce will be removed from the nationally bargained for ‘Agenda for Change’ pay scale. These members of staff will therefore face the prospect of fewer days of annual leave, smaller pension contributions' and lower pay than many of their immediate colleagues. These staff are the cleaners, porters and caterers who are essential to the running of the hospital, and yet generally are the least well remunerated. To somewhat arbitrarily employ one sector of staff on weaker terms than their colleagues, will surely be to the detriment of morale and cohesion. The lowest paid staff now face the conundrum of signing an inferior contract or risk unemployment, in the hope that their colleagues will also reject the offer.

The chief executive is eager to publicly extoll the efforts of staff in light of recent tribulations, however, it does not require great cynicism to question the sincerity of these blandishments; particularly when one entertains the possibility of ulterior motives. Tackling the large financial deficit is evidently the overwhelming priority for the executive board, yet as the cleaners et al prepare to tighten their belts, one is uncertain as to whether the directors are making comparable sacrifices. I urge the people of Salisbury to offer their full support to all the staff at Salisbury District Hospital who face an uncertain future.

Name and address supplied