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Ballot at Sodexo Brighton NHS

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

GMB to ballot for industrial action over evasion by Sodexo of legal consultation requirements for redundancies at Brighton & Sussex NHS trust.

GMB members consider that Sodexo are deliberately avoiding their statutory obligation of having to undertake 90 days consultation with the unions on these job losses.

The Regional Committee of GMB Southern Region has given authority for a ballot of members employed by Sodexo at Brighton & Sussex University Hospital NHS Trust for industrial action over the evasion by the Company of the legal requirement for 90 days consultation when making more than 100 staff redundant.

GMB will notify the company that they plan to hold a ballot of members for industrial action which will take place during early January 2013. If GMB members vote for action then a strike will likely take place in January 2013.

Sodexo took over the contract of 700 staff who provide cleaning, catering, portering, linen and grounds maintenance at the hospital, on 1st December 2012.

Within weeks of the contract commencing the Company announced 96 redundancies with only a 30 day consultation which will take place over the Christmas period. The proposed 96 job losses include: Management 10, Supervisors 23, Patient Feeding 8, Retail 3, Grounds and Garden 2 and Housekeeping 50.

The job losses are in addition to plans to introduce detrimental changes to contracts of employment, rotas and working practices. The company know that this will lead to other workers leaving as pay and hours are cut.

Gary Palmer, GMB Regional Organiser, said: GMB consider that Sodexo are evading the law on redundancy consultation by announcing less than 100 posts to go. GMB members consider that they are deliberately avoiding their statutory obligation of having to undertake 90 days consultation with the unions.

Sodexo know that by seeking to implement unreasonable contract changes, rotas and working practices this will lead to significant numbers of staff having no option but to leave.

GMB will now ballot members for industrial action. This is likely to take place in early January 2013.

There are also significant concerns as to patient safety over these job cuts. These are obvious when you consider that the company plan to make cuts to front line staff such as those responsible for feeding patients and cleaning on the wards.

GMB is calling on Sodexo to withdraw the redundancy notices and to come back to the table for tripartite discussions with GMB and Brighton & Sussex University Hospitals Trust to see if a resolution to this situation can be found without  a dispute.”

Lord Bassam of Brighton, Labour Member of the Shadow Cabinet and Former Leader of Brighton & Hove City Council said: “The decision to make these cuts at our local Hospital is appalling news for patients and staff alike. When you cut jobs from those responsible for cleaning and feeding patients the only result can be a decline in the standard of care and cleanliness and an increased risk to patients.

I said at the time of the Governments Health bill that it would lead to privatisation, cuts and a reduction in the quality of care. This redundancy consultation sadly proves the point. Staff are right to campaign against attacks on the quality of services at the hospital and I am calling on both Sodexo and the local NHS Trust to suspend the consultation and engage in immediate negotiations to resolve this dispute.”


For more information contact: Gary Palmer, GMB Organiser on 07552165950, Charles Harrity, GMB Senior Organiser on 07977518042 or Rob Macey, GMB Senior Organiser on 07710 618 908 or Lord Bassam on 07876478160 or GMB Press Office or 07974 251823

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