A representative for the seagull population at Southend Hospital has warned NHS management that strike action by all Junior Seagulls is now ‘highly likely’ after a change to their contracts has stipulated that their new working rota must include 24/7 working. More than 1000 seagulls are currently employed to keep pigeons away from vital medical equipment on site, and around 600 of these are classed as Junior Seagulls – these avian employees are required to spend three years on a departmental rotation until they are assigned a permanent and more specialised role.
Sebastian Voler is the head of the Southend Hospital Avian Group, and he spoke to the Chief Reporter about the proposed industrial action. He said: ‘These ludicrous demands have come right from Jeremy Hunt himself, and he seems to think that there are seagulls among us who simply stop chasing pigeons away at 5pm on a Friday night – we are no longer prepared to accept this unbelievable slur. Unlike the rest of the United Kingdom, the new contracts for Junior Seagulls at Southend Hospital include a number of other unworkable changes, and some of us are even being forced to spend up to three hours each day on Parking Patrol. This duty involves circling the hospital site and having a poo directly onto any vehicles that are parked in an unauthorised space, and every minute spent on this ridiculous task takes us away from the roles that we originally trained for.’
Mr Voler added: ‘The support that we have received from the general public has been unbelievable, and we are all incredibly touched that patients are getting behind us in spite of the constant media negativity. We would like to reassure all patients that throughout any proposed strike action, Junior Seagulls will still be providing cover for emergency situations – this includes incidents like a pigeon trying to peck a hole in an oxygen tank with their beak. I would also like to assure all hospital users that any rumours about our strikes turning into a dirty protest are completely false, and this is yet another attempt by the local press to smear our campaign for fair working conditions.’
All union-affiliated Junior Seagulls will be voting on the proposed industrial action straight after the Easter weekend, and if approved the first 24-hour walkout will take place from midnight on Tuesday 5th April.