Serco workers at east London hospitals stage pay protest

PUBLISHED: 07:00 10 May 2018

Serco has 1,600 workers contracted to Barts Health NHS Trust. Picture: Peter Byrne/PA

Serco has 1,600 workers contracted to Barts Health NHS Trust. Picture: Peter Byrne/PA

PA Wire/PA Images

Staff employed by outsourcing giant Serco in east London hospitals yesterday staged a protest at the company’s board meeting over pay.

Trade union Unite said Serco workers contracted to Barts Health NHS Trust, which covers Barking and Dagenham, Newham and Tower Hamlets, will miss out on a £2,000 a year pay rise offered to NHS workers.

FTSE 250-listed Serco provides cleaners, porters, security guards and caterers in hospitals including St Bartholomew’s and Mile End.

The company’s 1,600 staff working on this contract receive at least £10.20 per hour. Unite and a number of employees want this raised to £10.83.

“Over a thousand low paid workers vital to maintaining a clean and safe health service are demanding fair pay and dignity at work,” said Unite regional officer Ruth Hydon.

“It’s an injustice health workers employed by Serco, who keep these London hospitals safe and clean, are being offered less than other NHS workers at the same hospitals.

“It’s time to end poverty pay for NHS workers employed by private contractors. Serco workers should get the same increase as their colleagues to help pay for the high cost of housing and transport in London. Workers employed by Serco at Barts are demanding pay justice.”

If agreed, low-paid NHS workers will receive the pay bump in 2019, equating to an extra two grand each year in cash terms the first year of a three-year deal.

“We recognise the contribution that Serco staff make to our patients’ care,” said a spokesman for Barts Health.

“The NHS pay settlement is not yet agreed, and we remain in continuous dialogue with Serco.”

Serco staff at the trust voted to go on strike last July before a settlement was agreed.

Workers took part in industrial action for two weeks, with plans for further action.

A spokesman for the firm said: “We value the important contributions of all our employees and agreed with the trust and the unions at the start of our contract that we would pay at least the London Living Wage at Barts Health NHS Trust, which is a commitment that we continue to meet.”

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