The threat of a strike by hospital workers has been lifted after a dispute over job losses and wages was solved.

A deal thrashed out by the GMB union and bosses at private company Sodexo has been accepted by staff.

The company took over the contract for non-clinical services at Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust last December.

This includes cleaning, portering and catering at Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton and Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath.

The GMB balloted its 300 members who work for Sodexo for industrial action after it emerged up to 96 jobs could be lost as part of proposed changes to working conditions.

At the same time, technical problems led to many workers either not getting paid or not getting the money they were entitled to in December and January.

The new settlement includes a commitment from the company to actively look for voluntary redundancies with a revised figure of between 35 and 45.

Staff who suffered problems with pay are to be given high street vouchers worth up to £75.

GMB organiser Gary Palmer said he was pleased that union members and their colleagues had the threat of compulsory redundancies lifted.

Mr Palmer said: “We will now be looking to work hard to ensure that going forward we work together with Sodexo to deal with the requests for voluntary redundancies in a fair and equitable manner.”

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