SECURITY staff at a Southampton hospital are to strike for a second time in a dispute over safety, pay and sick leave conditions.

Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union, revealed to the Daily Echo that talks on Tuesday with the employer Mitie Security Ltd made “progress”, but claimed it was “not sufficient for the strike to be called off”.

Security staff at Southampton General Hospital, who are being attacked in the A&E department, will go ahead with a second day of strike action tomorrow, Good Friday.

Unite lead officer for health in the south east Scott Kemp said: “The company has increased its offer to £9.50 an hour, but our members are seeking £10.50 for security officers and £12.16 for supervisors for what is generally acknowledged to be a stressful and, on occasions, dangerous job.

“The company made no new offer on unsocial hours payments for weekend working and there was also no increase in sick pay forthcoming.”

A spokesperson from Mitie said: “We have offered a further pay increase to £9.50 per hour for all public facing staff.

“This equates to a 14.5 per cent increase in the last seven months. We had already agreed a further two per cent increase for this coming February, this will total a 16.5 per cent increase in 18 months.

“In addition, we have offered four weeks full sick pay and four weeks half pay for injuries sustained whilst at work, which is double the time currently offered.

“Unfortunately, Unite has chosen to reject this offer.

“During the strike action, we have arranged for a fully trained team of officers with relevant experience to provide cover onsite to maintain a usual level of service.”

A spokesperson for the hospital said: “We have been reassured by the measures taken by Mitie to maintain its security service across our hospitals over the course of strike action and hope that Mitie and Unite can continue to work together to resolve this dispute as quickly as possible.”

A 48-hour stoppage starting on May 3, a 24-hour strike on May 24 and a further 72-hour strike on June 7 are scheduled. All the strikes will start at 12.01am.

It comes as a meat cleaver, a rusty saw blade, and a five-inch knife were confiscated following incidents with security on hospital grounds.