Workers at West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds will rally against the reintroduction of staff parking charges later this week. 

Unison union announced the protest, which is planned for Wednesday lunchtime, which will ask trust bosses to change their mind about charges or at least delay their reintroduction. 

Staff have not had to pay for parking at the site since the start of the Covid pandemic, but the trust running the hospital wants to bring in charges at a flat rate of £2 a day from July 1.

East Anglian Daily Times: Staff at West Suffolk Hospital will rally against the chargesStaff at West Suffolk Hospital will rally against the charges (Image: Newsquest)

UNISON Eastern head of health Caroline Hennessy said: “NHS workers face enormous pressure every day they go to work, with understaffing, low pay and lack of resources making it harder and harder to keep up the amazing service they provide. 

“But instead of offering thanks and support, West Suffolk Hospital bosses want to pile more pressure on their hardworking staff. 

“This plan to reinstate parking charges belongs on the scrapheap."

READ MORE: Free staff parking at West Suffolk Hospital under threat

READ MORE: Hospital staff to lose free parking, hot drinks and evening meals

More than 1,500 people signed the union petition against the charges, which will be handed to trust bosses on the day of the rally. 

The trust has offered workers the option of shuttle buses from a number of off-site car parks, but the union has warned these will not be available to staff working long shifts. 

Staff will gather on Hardwick Heath near the hospital helipad at 12.30pm on Wednesday for the protest. 

A West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust spokesman said: "Given the commitment of those participating in the petition and rally, it is important that Unison share the petition with us.

"Unison representatives have provisionally accepted an invitation to meet Trust executives to discuss the petition in more detail.

"We understand that reintroducing car parking charges is not a popular decision, and it was not an easy one to make, particularly in the context of pressures on the cost of living.

"However, free car parking arrangements for NHS staff, introduced during the pandemic and funded by the Department of Health and Social Care, came to an end on 31 March 2022.

"Since then, the trust has been absorbing these costs and regrettably this is no longer financially sustainable."