ROYAL Bolton Hospital could face a strike of its cleaners, porters and caters if an agreement cannot be reached over pay rises.

Many of the hospital's staff on the lowest wages are employed by Bolton iFM a wholly owned subsidiary company of Bolton NHS Foundation Trust.

iFM employees who are UNISON members have unanimously asked to be balloted for strike action because they will not be receiving a pay increase which band one employees in other trusts are receiving.

Tim Ellis, UNISON regional manager, said: "They have said they will not pay to the staff the fully agreed 2018 NHS pay agreement. Cleaners and porters aren't to be paid the same as other staff on the same band.

"There's huge anger and 100 per cent request for strike unless something satisfactory is agreed."

Mr Ellis said the amount equates to about £2,000 per year.

Stephen Tyldsley, managing director of iFM Bolton, said: “We are committed to working with staff side to review the impact of the NHS pay award staff on iFM staff.”

When Bolton iFM was set up about two years ago it was agreed with the unions that staff pay increases would mirror those awarded by the NHS.

However, according to Bolton NHS Foundation Trust the newest pay deal, called Agenda for Change, represents a reconfiguration of NHS pay which is not transferable to iFM staff and that the trust is working with staff to work out a rise for staff not on NHS Agenda for Change contracts.

Mr Ellis said that the Agenda for Change contract for 2018 for band one is £8.92 an hour, rising to £9.89 an hour over two years.

He said cleaners and porters have not been given this but catering assistants have been put on the new rate. However Mr Ellis said the trust has not agreed the subsequent pay rises, the first of which is due to come in in December.