The union representing ambulance staff at Epsom and St Helier hospitals has slammed the absence of new money for its workers despite a major funding boost.

The GMB union, who represent workers including the patient transport workers that drive ambulances, said they were balloting their members who work at the hospitals and floated the possibility of strike action if workers' demands for NHS contracts were rejected.

Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust received a significant boost from central government recently, to the tune of £500m.

GMB said that their proposals to use some of the extra funding to improve workers' pay conditions had been rejected by the Trust administration.

Employees at Epsom and St Helier hospitals represented by GMB are on "poverty pay" at present, the union said.

"Epsom and St Helier are on track to spend huge sums of cash on a state of the art car park and a new entrance on the Epsom Hospital site but in a meeting with GMB Union last week the Trust Executive stated that there was ‘no money’ to put their ambulance staff on NHS contracts.

"The contract on offer means that these workers won’t get sick pay for the first year of employment and if they refuse to sign the contract they won’t get the London Living Wage of £10.55 per hour.

"The beleaguered patient transport service has been outsourced multiple times over the past 10 years meaning that workers doing the same job are all on different sets of terms and conditions," a GMB spokesperson said.

Helen O’Connor, GMB's Southern organiser, added further criticism of the way the money was being spent.

She said GMB workers were being "held to ransom" by the hospital administration despite this massive increase in its funding.

"GMB members are angry at being held to ransom by Epsom and St Helier NHS Trust as they are told that if they don’t sign away their rights to an NHS contract they will not get the London Living Wage.

"Our members carry out highly skilled and invaluable work supporting the most vulnerable elderly patients having renal dialysis in the trust. They are entitled to be rewarded properly for the work they do.

"If they are not paid and treated like NHS staff the trust will not be able to recruit or retain them in the service. GMB members are sick and tired of hearing the line that that there is money but not for them.

Ms O'Connor said that GMB workers would be voting on the current contract offer proposed by the hospital administration and were "highly likely" to reject it in its present form.

She added that strike action from GMB workers at Epsom and St Helier was now a possibility.

"Over the next two weeks GMB Union is balloting our members on the contract on offer and early signs tell us that they are highly likely to reject this insulting offer from the trust.

"Our members are indicating that they are prepared to fight for their right to an NHS contract. This could include strike action if the trust doesn’t see sense."