GMB Members Employed By ISS At Queen Elisabeth Hospital Woolwich 24 Hour Strike On Wed 8th October In Dispute Over Two Tier Workforce In NHS
Members want an end to the two- tier workforce within the hospital with the same pay rates and weekend enhancements and unsocial hours rates as directly employed staff says GMB.
GMB, the union for staff in the NHS, has given notice to contractor ISS at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich that members will take 24 hours strike action from 6am on 8th October in a dispute over a two tier workforce in the NHS.
Over 200 GMB members are employed by ISS at the hospital as cleaners, security, ward hostesses, caterers, on the switchboard and as porters.
Members want the same pay rates and weekend enhancements and unsocial hours rates as the staff directly employed by the Trust.
ISS workers are paid between £7.10 and £7.32 per hour. The lowest rate for directly employed staff is £7.33 ph which moves in yearly increments to £7.51 and £7.69 under the current NHS pay progression system.
ISS staff who work unsocial hours get between 90p - £2:05per hour. As direct staff they would be entitled to time and a half, ISS staff work on Saturday get time and a quarter. As direct staff this would be time and a half. When they work Sunday or a bank holiday they get time and a half. As direct staff this would be double time. ISS also pay less than sick pay for weekend.
There are a number of health and safety issues to resolve.
There is a meeting of the GMB disputes committee this evening (1st October). At that meeting calling a demonstration at Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust board meeting on the 14th October will be considered. A protest outside the offices of HCP Social Infrastructure (UK) Ltd at 6 Middle Street, London EC1A 7PH where Meridian the PFI Operator is located will also be considered.
Nadine Houghton, GMB Regional Officer, said "GMB members want an end to the two- tier workforce within the hospital. They want the same pay rates and weekend enhancements and unsocial hours rates as the staff directly employed by the Trust.
GMB does not accept that outsourcing mean that public sector employers can simply outsource the responsibility for the staff and duck their responsibilities by arguing that they are employed by someone else. For too long these staff at Queen Elizabeth Hospital have felt undervalued, bullied and exploited. This will not be accepted.
GMB members do not take strike action lightly, especially not in a hospital but members have been left with no choice but go ahead with this official strike action. GMB contacted the Lewisham and Greenwich Trust and ISS months ago and no attempts have been made to meet us to settle the dispute. The Trust should step in to force the PFI contractor for the hospital Meridian Hospitals PLC and ISS to enter into negotiations to avert this stoppage.
Local MP Teresa Pearce has written to Meridian to ask them to help settle the dispute.
Meridian Hospitals PLC paid a dividend of £2, 772, 000 last year. This money is going straight from the public purse into private pockets. A fraction of this money could be used to pay our members what they deserve."
Contact: Nadine Houghton 07714 239 227 or Justin Bowden 07710 631351 or GMB press office 07974 251823 or 07921 289880