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Second strike by contract workers at Royal London and Bart’s hospitals starts tomorrow

PUBLISHED: 16:53 10 July 2017 | UPDATED: 09:07 11 July 2017

Barts Heath NHS Trust workers employed by Serco on strike and demanding a proper pay increase

Barts Heath NHS Trust workers employed by Serco on strike and demanding a proper pay increase

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Hundreds of low paid hospital workers in east London begin a seven-day strike in a pay dispute for a 30p-an-hour pay rise claim.

Barts Heath NHS Trust workers employed by Serco on strike and demanding a proper pay increaseBarts Heath NHS Trust workers employed by Serco on strike and demanding a proper pay increase

The disruption is the second industrial walk-out in just over a week at the Royal London, the Mile End and Whipps Cross hospitals as well as Bart’s in the City, which are all run by Bart’s Health NHS Trust.

The cleaners, porters and security guards walk out from 6am tomorrow in their dispute with Serco contract service providers.

It follows last week’s three-day strike which the Unite union says caused disruption to domestic services at the four hospitals, laying the blame on Serco for “refusing to enter into meaningful talks”.

The latest walk-out runs till July 18—with a warning that the workers stage an even longer strike for two weeks starting on July 25 and yet more strikes in August and September if their demands aren’t met.

Barts Heath NHS Trust workers employed by Serco on strike and demanding a proper pay increaseBarts Heath NHS Trust workers employed by Serco on strike and demanding a proper pay increase

“Our members are refusing to accept one per cent after seeing their real living standards drop year on year,” Unite’s regional officer Gloria Sindall said.

“Low-paid workers are refusing to accept one per cent after seeing their real living standards drop year on year,” Unite’s regional officer Gloria Sindall said.

“They get home late, tired and sore from the intense workload heaped on them by Serco—they deserve better.”

The company claims its workers are “rewarded fairly” and says it agreed with Barts Trust to pay a minimum London Living Wage “from day one” with a pay rise for 230 workers and a 3.5 per cent for 110 permanent staff. Meanwhile, it has “robust” plans to overcome the strike action.

Serco’s contract director Phil Mitchell said previously: “We’re determined to make sure that Unite’s action doesn’t impact on patients and have robust plans to continue supporting the hospitals to operate as normal during the planned action.”

Last week’s industrial action was “solidly supported” by Unite members, the union maintains, in its campaign for an increase of 30p an hour.

Serco, with global profits of £82 million, won the £600 million services contract for Barts Trust last year. Its chief executive gets an annual £1m a year, according to the union.

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