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Hospital workers consider strike action after demand for 30p an hour pay rise ‘ignored’

PUBLISHED: 18:20 23 May 2017 | UPDATED: 10:44 24 May 2017

Whipps Cross University Hospital in Leytonstone.

Whipps Cross University Hospital in Leytonstone.

Wikimedia Commons

Non-medical staff employed by a private contractor at Barts Health NHS Trust say they are considering strike action in a dispute over pay and working conditions.

Porters, security guards and domestic staff across Whipps Cross University Hospital, Royal London Hospital, St Bartholomew’s Hospital and Mile End Hospital are set to be balloted.

Unite regional officer, Gloria Sindall said: “After years of below inflation pay deals, workers deserve a decent pay increase of an extra 30p an hour.

“Instead the company haven’t yet responded to the union’s fair demands.

“Staff are also opposing plans to cut the numbers of porters at Whipps Cross which will stretch services and lead to job losses.

“Cleaners have had their workloads increased to unsustainable levels across the Trust.

“Hard working staff deserve fairer treatment and better pay.”

Staff say Serco, which landed a £600m contract to manage facilities for Barts Health NHS Trust last year, has failed to respond to a request for their pay to be increased by 30p an hour.

Now, staff members who are part of the union Unite, will be asked next week if they wish to strike.

Phil Mitchell, Serco contract director, said he was disappointed.

He said: “I’m surprised and disappointed by Unite’s actions given how closely we have engaged with union representatives in recently bringing significant improvements to pay and conditions for our staff.

“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.

“We are also taking steps to improve job security by bringing former agency staff into direct employment and ending the previous use of zero hours contracts.

“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 over the past ten days in supporting patients, their families and Trust staff through the challenges of the cyber attack.

“Unite themselves could learn a lot from the way our team conduct themselves.”

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