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Barts Health Trust staff employed by Serco voting on strike action over pay

PUBLISHED: 11:58 02 June 2017 | UPDATED: 13:56 02 June 2017

Whipps Cross University Hospital (Picture: Katie Collins/PA)

Whipps Cross University Hospital (Picture: Katie Collins/PA)

PA Wire/Press Association Images

Staff at Barts Health NHS Trust have begun to vote on whether to strike over pay and working conditions.

Unite union members employed by outsourcing company Serco as domestic staff, porters and security workers at Barts have been balloted for industrial action.

Unite has surveyed staff at the trust, which runs Newham University Hospital, Mile End Hospital and The Royal London Hospital, and said it found overwhelming support for a 30p per hour wage increase.

Out of 700 workers surveyed 98pc said they believed they deserve a bigger share of Serco’s profits – which were posted as more than £82 million last year.

Unite regional officer, Gloria Sindall said: “It is now time for Serco to come to the negotiating table and agree a fair pay increase for workers across Barts.

“Unite called for a pay increase back in March but so far the company haven’t responded to the union’s fair demands. Now workers will begin voting on industrial action.

“Staff are also opposing plans to cut a significant number of porters at Whipps Cross which will stretch services and lead to job losses, while cleaners have had their workloads increased to unsustainable levels across the trust.”

Phil Mitchell, Serco contract director, says he is disappointed by the union’s action “given how closely we have engaged with union representatives in recently bringing significant improvements to pay and conditions for our staff”.

He continued: “We believe strongly in ensuring our dedicated team are rewarded fairly for their hard work, which is why we agreed with Barts Health NHS Trust to pay all our team members a minimum of the London Living Wage, resulting in significant salary increases for many colleagues.”

Mr Mitchell said that Serco has improved staff job security by ending zero hour contracts.

He added: “I’m proud of what we have achieved here in a very short space of time and especially proud of our team members, not least the way they responded in supporting patients, their families and Trust staff through the challenges of the recent cyber attack.”

The industrial action ballot closes on 20 June.

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