UNION bosses have accused a NHS Trust of treating staff with contempt over car parking charges.

Unite has hit out at South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust after it increased the cost of staff parking, despite having lost an employment tribunal over the implementation of the price rise.

In May last year, a tribunal found in the favour of a Unite member and he awarded £6.90 for the three months where the excessive charge had been wrongly deducted from his wages.

Union officials claim that talks to resolve the matter continued until early December when the trust announced that they would not be refunding the staff the amount they had deducted unfairly from workers’ wages.

However, health chiefs maintain that an offer to pay back members affected by the rise was rejected by the union.

In the latest development, Unite is demanding that the trust complies with the tribunal’s ruling and refund all the affected staff.

Unite regional officer Pat McCourt said: “The trust is treating the tribunal process, staff and the unions with contempt. They have disregarded longstanding negotiating procedures and are acting in a reckless manner which risks the goodwill of staff, who are the backbone of the NHS.

“Unite took a test case, in order not to overburden the trust with a massive employment case. Once the tribunal ruled in Unite’s favour, it was incumbent on the trust to negotiate to ensure that these issues were resolved for the entire workforce.

“The fact the trust is trying to plug financial holes in the budget by fleecing its own staff is unforgivable, the trust should accept the tribunal decision and refund all affected staff without delay.”

A Trust spokeswoman maintains that it is the union who rejected the offer to reimburse staff who had money taken from their salaries.

She said: “We’re surprised and disappointed that the Unite union have decided to make these claims.

“We’ve been in discussions with Unite and other union representatives since early 2017 on this and other related issues. Although we disagreed with the tribunal ruling, we decided not to appeal the decision, as we felt that this wasn’t good use of taxpayers’ money.

“We made a reasonable offer to the union representatives back in October 2018, as part of package of measures, which would reimburse all affected staff for the small increase in car parking. However this offer has been declined by union representatives.

“Our car parking charges for staff are in line with charges in other trusts in the region and are used to provide and maintain parking for our nine thousand staff.”