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Brighton Sodexo Strike Ballot

Friday, May 22, 2015

GMB Strike Ballot For Members At Sodexo In Brighton & Sussex NHS Trust Over Two Tier Workforce

Sodexo’s failure to deal with outstanding issues leaves members no choice other than to take this ultimate step says GMB

GMB, the union for staff in the health service, will ballot members employed by Sodexo at Brighton & Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust for industrial action as on-going attempts to reach agreement over fair pay and contracts has reached an impasse.

Sodexo, whose £15 million a year contract to provide soft FM services has been cancelled by Brighton & Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust, are stalling on negotiations to settle contacts for GMB members for a living wage pay claim.

GMB are also looking for housekeepers, hosts and cleaners to be re-graded under NHS AfC terms onto a banding which will see some of the lowest paid workers gain a pay increase equivalent to a living age standard.

Gary Palmer, GMB Regional Organiser, said “GMB is calling on Sodexo to do the right thing before they cut and run and end the two tier workforce approach and assimilate all staff onto AfC terms and conditions prior to their being transferred into the Trust on August 1st, and to additionally offer casual staff who have worked for Sodexo for 3 months or more the option of a full time or part time AfC contract should they wish to take the opportunity to do so.

Sodexo’s whole approach to this contract has been a mess from start to finish here in Brighton. They arrived in 2012 with threats of over a 100 redundancies; they failed to pay staff properly for over 6 weeks or even at all very shortly after commencing service delivery over the Christmas period, an issue which has continued to plague staff at times throughout their time here.

Lack of resources has seen staff struggling with delivering an acceptable service level, regardless of their very hard work, because of the lack of equipment and material shortages through underfunding, and since April 2014 a long running pay dispute where members have been seeking a fair pay rise equivalent to a living wage.  

Sodexo’s failure to deal with this latest matter leaves members no choice other than to take this ultimate step. Delaying matters so to push the problem onto the incoming employer, in this case Brighton & Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust just reinforces their total disrespect for their hard working staff, who although delighted with being transferred back into the NHS fold, would finally like to be paid properly and fairly for all their hard work.

Sodexo must not be allowed to simply wash their hands and walk away absolved of their responsibilities and the GMB and our members feel that they have an obligation to them, as low paid workers, to put in place paying a Living Wage equivalent within the Trust’s AfC pay scales before any transfer. This is the very least our members deserve as recompense for two years of low pay, constant pay role errors and total under resourcing and staffing which has seen service delivery affected regardless of our members outstanding hard work.

Striking is never an easy choice for those who can least afford to lose the money in the first place. But that’s exactly what our members have been pushed to decide on in order to simply try and feed their family, pay bills, keep up with paying the rent and try to improve their quality of life. Surely a fair expectation which even Sodexo would agree with?”


Contact: Gary Palmer GMB Organiser 07552165950, Mark Turner GMB Branch Secretary 07860787973 or Charles Harrity, GMB Senior Organiser on 07977518042 or GMB press office 07921 289880 or 07974 251 823


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