SECURITY staff at a Hampshire hospital have suspended a 48-hour strike that was due to start on May 3.

Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union, revealed the 21 security staff who work at Southampton General Hospital will vote on a new offer covering pay and sick pay conditions.

The 21 security staff have suffered regular attacks by members of the public either under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or with mental health problems, which has attracted national media attention.

According to employees, there has been a lack of adequate personal protective equipment (PPE), such as stab vests and safety restraints.

Talks were held on April 29 between security staff and their employer, Mitie Security Ltd, and the ballot is set to close on May 17.

Scott Kemp, Unite lead officer for health in the south east, said: “We had talks with Mitie yesterday and enough progress was made for us to be able to put a new offer on pay and sick pay to our members.

“We won’t be revealing the details of the offer until our members have had the opportunity to consider and vote on the package. As a result, we have suspended the 48-hour stoppage due to have started on Friday and our members will be working normally.”

Security staff have already taken two days of strike action at the University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust – on Good Friday and April 5.

A spokesperson for Mitie said: “Following revisions to our previous offer of an already significant pay increase for staff working at Southampton General Hospital, we are pleased that Unite is now giving our offer the full consideration it deserves.

“In addition to the proposed increase to £9.50 per hour for all public facing staff already offered – equating to a 14% increase in the last seven months – supervisors will now also see a pay increase to £10.50 per hour, a 6% rise over the same period.

They added: “In addition to the investment already made in body worn cameras, safety gauntlets and gloves, the site team has tested and chosen additional body worn protection which will start arriving early next week.”

A spokesperson from University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust said: “We would like to thank security officers for their continued professionalism and Mitie for ensuring its security service has been maintained appropriately throughout the periods of strike action.”