The suspended worker has been treated unfairly in our view and should be reinstated immediately and a sensible resolution should be brought about says GMB London.
Hospital workers in Watford General hospital who asked their managers for permission to wear three quarter length trousers because of the intense heat were told to keep wearing their normal black combat trousers. Yesterday, 21st June 2017, a worker was suspended from work for rolling his trousers up, disciplinary action may follow.
Private contractor Medirest, a multinational company who supply porters and cleaners to Watford General Hospital, suspended a GMB union safety representative following a disagreement about the wearing of polyester combat style black trousers and what the union say are inadequate provisions for workers during the intense heat wave.
The safety representative, Michael Wood, was suspended from work when he refused to roll down his trousers during the hot weather. Following a disagreement over working in excessive temperatures, Mr Wood and many of his colleagues who are hospital porters started to roll up their trousers when they were hot.
There is no legislation in place for working in hot temperature and the guidelines only require an employer to act reasonably. Medirest have distributed instructions on where to get a drink of water in the hospital. However, the union feel that more rest breaks, bottled water and shorter three quarter length light trousers would assist the workers working in temperatures of more than 30 degrees.
Instead of providing shorter or lighter trousers Medirest insisted that the normal black polyester combat trousers must be worn. This hard line approach to workers safety follows in a series of industrial relations problems with Medirest at Watford General. Recently two workers were suspended for five weeks for refusing to work in a dangerous way with unsafe equipment.
Michael Dooley GMB local representative said:
“The porters, who are paid minimum wage, are expected to continue working as normal in the searing heat whilst managers sit in air conditioned offices. Because of the unusually high temperatures, the NHS managers in Watford General have adopted a reasonable approach towards their workforce.
“However, Medirest consider suspending safety reps is the preferred option, this of course may intimidate other workers into submission to ensure compliance. The spirit of good will and cooperation seems to have died in Watford General hospital.
“Many workers are fasting for their religious observance and the excessive heat will no doubt compound their hardship. Mr Wood has been treated unfairly in our view and should be reinstated immediately and a sensible resolution should be brought about.”
Contact: Michael Dooley on 0208 202 2893 or 0777 306 1798 or GMB Press Office on 07958 156846 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Watford General Hospital Chief Executives office – Katie Fisher on 01923 436 280 or email: email@example.com
Medirest contact - Velda Ismay Operations Manager Watford Hospital
See also Watford General Hospital Webpage http://www.westhertshospitals.nhs.uk/