GMB Members Employed By Mitie To Protest At Epsom Hospital On 30th June Before Strike Ballot In Dispute Over Two Tier Workforce
Members working for Mitie at Epsom and St Helier Hospitals want equal treatment – nothing more, nothing less says GMB
GMB members employed by contractor Mitie as cleaning, catering and portering staff will stage a protest demonstration outside Epsom Hospital on Tuesday 30th June over poor pay and conditions at Epsom and St Helier Hospitals. The protest will take place between 2.45pm and 4pm.
The protest is in advance of an official strike ballot authorised by the GMB Southern Regional Committee to secure an end to a two tier workforce at these hospitals.
The contract between Mitie and the NHS Trust began in June 2014. Mitie is contracted by Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust to provide catering services at both Epsom and St Helier Hospitals and domestic (cleaning) and portering services at Epsom Hospital only.
GMB is insisting that the disparity in pay and conditions be ended, with all Mitie workers brought up Agenda for Change levels. This means a minimum starting salary of £18,583, rising to £18,846 for domestics and catering staff, and up to £21,283 for porters.
The Agenda for Change salaries include Outer London High Cost Area Payment and are based on AfC band 1 for domestics (cleaners) and catering staff, and AfC band 2 for porters. Individual staff with higher levels of responsibility, such as team leaders, may be on a higher AfC band.
Members being balloted fall far short of these conditions. The majority of the workers earn the minimum wage or close to it, with minimal annual leave and no sick pay. That is £6.50 per hour or £13,500 per year for full time workers.
Kieron Merrett, GMB Regional Organiser, said “GMB members working for Mitie at Epsom and St Helier Hospitals want equal treatment – nothing more, nothing less.
It cannot be right that there is such a huge disparity in pay and conditions between workers doing the same job at two different NHS hospitals – particularly when the two hospitals are within the same NHS Trust.
Domestic and portering services at St Helier Hospital remain in-house with the Trust, and these workers therefore have full NHS “Agenda for Change” Terms and Conditions as employees of the NHS Trust. This creates a major disparity between porters and domestics at the two sites within the same Trust.
Mitie also has contracts for catering and cleaning at other local hospitals, including St George’s Hospital in Tooting, in which Mitie is contractually required to maintain Agenda for Change pay and conditions. This creates a major disparity between domestics and caterers employed by the same company to do the same job at different NHS sites.
Mitie has also recently reduced the working hours for many of the catering workers at Epsom and St Helier Hospitals, resulting in financial detriment. The company has now begun to change working hours for domestic workers. It has also now told porters that it will bring in new rules restricting their annual leave and reducing the number of hours for which they will be paid night rate.
This is what inevitably happens when NHS services are privatised and given over to contractors like Mitie.
GMB is urging Epsom and St Helier NHS Trust to get its own hospitals back under control and ensure its lowest-paid workers are treated responsibly rather than simply being ignored.”
Contact: Kieron Merrett 07866 441 656 or Michelle Gordon 07866 369259 or Justin Bowden 07710 631351 or GMB press office 07921 289880 or 07974 251 823