HEALTH union UNISON said yesterday that contract cleaners at Heartlands Hospital in Birmingham have suspended a one-day strike planned for later this week.
More than 350 workers at Heartlands Hospital in Birmingham voted for industrial action after rejecting an earlier offer by privateer Initial Hospital Services.
The workers want pay parity and the same terms and conditions as their directly employed counterparts at Heartlands' sister hospital in Solihull.
UNISON revealed that hospital management and Initial had proposed amended terms and conditions worth more than Â£1 million, which it had recommended to porters and cleaners.
The union's West Midlands regional organiser Ray Salmon said that members were now being balloted about the revised offer, which would see pay harmonised by April 2007.
Mr Salmon said: "We acknowledge the fact that there has been a U-turn by the trust. They have committed a substantial amount of money - over Â£1 million - to this deal.
He predicted: "By April 2007, there will be no two-tier workforce in Heartlands and Solihull.
"We believe it is the best you can get by negotiation and have recommended it to members on that basis."
Mr Salmon admitted that the new offer had received a mixed reaction as some staff would not see any benefits until next year, but reassured members that everyone would be better off in the medium and long term.
He added that the result of the ballot would be known next Monday and that the arbitration service ACAS would most likely be called in if the offer was rejected.
Heartlands was rated the seventh-worst hospital for MRSA infection in England in a Department of Health league table produced earlier this year.
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