GMB Sodexo Members Accept Offer Ending Two Tier Pay System Prior To Transfer Back To Brighton & Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust
Some members gain rises of up to 6% and enhanced pay for shifts plus better sick pay and increased holidays says GMB
GMB members working for Sodexo at Brighton & Sussex University Hospitals (BSUH) NHS Trust have voted to accept Sodexo’s latest offer to put all permanent employees currently on Sodexo contracts onto terms which mirror NHS Agenda for Change (AfC) terms and conditions of employment.
The members are employed as porters, housekeepers, cleaners and on the patient feeding services at The Royal Sussex and Princess Royal Hospitals. See notes to editor for copy of previous GMB press release on this long running campaign.
Gary Palmer, GMB Organiser, said “The offer will see long ignored and underpaid GMB members and Sodexo contract holders gain rises of up to 6% in real terms. Just as important they will receive enhanced pay when doing shifts which attract them within their new AfC terms and conditions. They will get better sick pay terms and increased holidays.
Sodexo contract holders will also see compensation payments in recompense for non-implemented of pay awards from April 2014 and 2015.
The implementation comes just one month before Sodexo passes the contract back into the hands of BSUH NHS Trust. It finally ends the unfair two tier pay system of non-agenda for change contracts. This is a move which had initially not been supported by the BSUH Trust in a bid to continue minimising spending within the budget for providing soft FM services within the hospitals when they requested private providers to tender for NHS services.
Despite the very best efforts of over worked, under resourced and badly paid staff this led to issues within both hospitals around cleanliness, patient feeding and portering. This also led to continuous financial penalties for Sodexo in their failing to hit targets and maintaining delivery standards and which ultimately led the Trust to remove Sodexo and bring services back in house in an effort to improve them.
Paul Maloney, GMB Regional Secretary, added “Winning this long standing fight for fair pay for the lowest paid staff working at the Trust for Sodexo around gaining Agenda For Change pay and terms and conditions has come about because GMB members on detrimental terms and conditions and their colleagues already on NHS like contracts make a united stand together to correct this unfairness for all.
I can’t praise them and their GMB workplace Reps enough for sticking together through what seemed at times a process and dispute which constantly faced hurdles from an employer determined not to do the right thing at the very start.
There are of course a range of winners within this deal and some members will see increases in real terms of up to 6%, and a real improvement in terms and conditions. It’s only a shame that Sodexo have had to wait until just a month before leaving to finally correct this pay disparity.
But in doing so it means that BSUH, who made it clear that they had no intention of unifying the pay scales themselves, are now obliged to adhere under TUPE to those improved contracts.
More and more we are seeing NHS facilities being contracted out so that the private sector can undermine the terms and conditions of staff employed in the health service in a race to the bottom on pay and service levels. GMB will always challenge all those who seek to treat our members in the NHS unfairly.
A two tier workforce in the name of cost cutting and profiteering is not acceptable within the NHS. Other empowered and organised workforces like those at Sodexo will learn from outcomes like this to take on and win these fights in protecting jobs, pay, and their terms and conditions, through if needs be, the threat of industrial action going forward.”
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 251 823 020 7391 6755
Notes to editors
Copy of GMB press release dated 30th June 2015
GMB CALL ON BRIGHTON & SUSSEX UNIVERSITY NHS TRUST TO STOP BLOCKING END OF TWO TIER STRUCTURE FOR TRANSFERRED FACILITY STAFF OR FACE INDUSTRIAL ACTION
Patient services at both The Royal Sussex and Princess Royal Hospitals will be affected if fed up low paid staff make the stand for fair pay and equal terms and conditions within the NHS says GMB
GMB are warned that failure by Brighton & Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust (BSUH) failure to engage in the current talks with Sodexo which will see the ending of unfair pay of the two tier pay structures for Porters and Housekeeping staff, amongst others will lead to members being forced to take industrial action by their blocking what otherwise would have been a productive meeting.
GMB members recently voted positive to take industrial action should either of the 2014 or 2015 pay negotiations fail to be settled, but agreed to postpone any industrial action whilst the GMB took part in last ditch talks with the current employer Sodexo. They now find themselves prevented by settling matters as the new employer BSUH fails to either take part in or authorise Sodexo to settle the 2015 dispute on their behalf.
GMB, whose members on non NHS terms and conditions have asked that on their return back into the NHS fold to be treated fairly and equitably by being paid comparable salaries and in receiving all the same terms and conditions as their NHS colleagues, who they will be working alongside and carrying out similar roles whilst still receiving less pay for doing so.
In addition, the GMB would also like to see the ending of the staff being placed on the lowest current banding within the Trust, and to see them move to be paid under Agenda for Change pay scales to a rate which would see them move to a point nearer earning the living wage.
Gary Palmer, GMB organiser, said “This latest meeting has once again been a little unusual in so much as, at times a single meeting can be both extremely positive and at others very frustrating for both GMB workplace Reps and Members alike.
The issue is that discussions about areas for which Sodexo still have full responsibility and liability for during recent pay talks, have been very constructive and a possible proposal we could put to members on the 2014 offer is close to being formalised.
But this dispute is not simply about just one year’s pay, and the acceptance and implementation by either the current or future employer that fair and equal pay under NHS Agenda for change is the right thing to do for those transferring back to a public NHS Hospital and that’s where GMB members have found themselves being frustrated in not being able to discuss any resolution with Sodexo in settling the 2015 pay dispute.
BSUH have full say on all matters they would inherit following the transfer and they are preventing discussions either from not attending the meetings themselves or simply failing to authorise Sodexo to act on their behalf in talks with the GMB so we can attempt to resolve matters prior to the upcoming transfer.
The problem that leaves Sodexo with is that agreement needs to be reached for both the 2014 and 2015 pay disputes before the GMB would look to remove the current live threat to give notice of industrial action, and from what we are seeing they are just being prevented from doing so, even if they wanted to settle.
Letting things drag on is now not an option, therefore as the current employer we have reluctantly had to inform Sodexo that unless we hear that either the Trust supports, allowing Sodexo as current employer to resolve all matters, or the trusts confirmation to agree to sit meaningfully and immediately with us of their own accord to seek a harmonisation of pay together with terms and conditions by Monday 3pm, or we will have no choice but to issue the required notices to commence a series of industrial action events.
It therefore appears that only the BSUH NHS Trust can prevent a strike which will see patient services at both The Royal Sussex and Princess Royal Hospitals affected, when fed up low paid Porters, Housekeepers, Cleaners and Patient Feeding Services make the stand for fair pay and equal terms and conditions within the NHS. “