GMB Suspend Iss Woolwich Hospital Strike To Consult Members On Inflation Busting Pay Offer
If the deal is accepted the majority of members will have seen their pay rise from £7.10 to £7.72 per hour over the course of the dispute, a pay rise of 8.7% says GMB.
GMB, the union for health service workers, today suspended a five day strike for over 250 GMB members working for hospital contractor ISS Mediclean at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Woolwich due to start on Monday 9th March, following an inflation busting pay offer.
The five day strike was due to start at 06:00 on Monday 9th March 2015 until 06:00 on Saturday 14th march 2015. These workers had already taken five days of strike action on 8th October, 24th and 25th November and 25th and 26th December. See notes to editor for recent press release on the dispute.
The action was subject to a High Court Injunction launched by ISS which was dismissed on 21st November 2014 by Justice Singh on the grounds that the GMB all requirements for industrial action ballots with all costs being awarded against the company.
GMB’s claim was for full parity with comparable NHS staff working under the Agenda for Change agreement to end the two tier workforce. The offer on the table moves the lowest paid staff up to the new minimum NHS rate of £7.72 per hour (£15,100 per year) as from 1st April 2015.
Nadine Houghton, GMB Regional Organiser, said “GMB has consistently argued that workers in the NHS employed by contractors should not be paid less than comparable NHS staff.
The offer to increase the rates for the lowest graded to staff to the NHS rate of £7.72 per hour represents a step forward in this regard. It is a pay rate these staff are fully entitled to. They are the cooks, the cleaners, the porters, the ward hostess, switchboard operators and security guards. They perform the jobs that keep the hospital running.
If the deal is accepted the majority of members will have seen their pay rise from £7.10 to £7.72 per hour over the course of the dispute, a pay rise of 8.7%. Increases in pay for higher banded staff have still to be resolved but the company have committed to improving these, something which will form the basis of negotiations over the next few weeks.
Although we still have some issues to be addressed, this pay increase represents a major step forward for our members.
GMB rejects the argument that workers for contractors should get less that those they work with and this deal goes a long way to correcting this injustice.
Whilst we will continue to look for improvements with regards to other terms and conditions, this victory shows what happens when workers stand together.”
Contact: Nadine Houghton (07714239227, firstname.lastname@example.org) or Andy Prendergast 907984492726, email@example.com) or Justin Bowden GMB National Officer on 07710 631351 or GMB press office: 07974 251823 or 07921 289880.
Notes for editors:
GMB press release dated 2nd March 2015.
FURTHER FIVE DAYS OF CONTINUOUS STRIKE ACTION FROM 9TH MARCH BY ISS STAFF AT WOOLWICH HOSPITAL OVER TWO TIER WORKFORCE
If ISS cared about patients then they wouldn't have forced members to strike for the pay and conditions they are entitled to and which ISS is being remunerated by NHS to pay them says GMB
200 GMB members employed by ISS at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Woolwich will take a further five days of strike action in the long running dispute over the two tier workforce. The continuous strike action will commence at 6am on Monday 9 March and will end at 6pm Friday 13th March.
Over 200 GMB members are employed by ISS at the hospital as cleaners, security, ward hostesses, caterers, on the switchboard and as porters.
GMB members have already held five days of strike action on 25th and 26th December, 24th and 25th November and on 8th October. Talks on 18th December did result in movement by the company but as yet no settlement has been reached.
GMB successfully resisted attempts by ISS to get an injunction in the High Court on 20th November to stop these members holding further days of strike action.
GMB members want the same pay rates and weekend enhancements and unsocial hours rates as the staff directly employed by the NHS Trust. GMB has learned ISS is getting enough money from the Trust to pay staff NHS Agenda for Change terms and conditions but continues to refuse to end the two tier workforce.
ISS workers are paid between £7.10 and £7.32 per hour. The lowest rate for directly employed staff is £7.33 per hour 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 too.
Nadine Houghton, GMB Regional Officer, said “GMB members employed by ISS are now more determined than ever. They are not prepared to give up until they secure what is rightfully theirs - the proper rate for the job and an end to the 2 tier workforce at the hospital.
ISS have fought us at every turn and have done everything in their power to stop our members fighting for fair pay. ISS has done everything other than actually trying to resolve the dispute amicably. If ISS cared about patients then they wouldn't have forced our members into having to strike for the pay and conditions they are entitled to and which ISS is being remunerated by NHS to pay them.
Later this week GMB will announce details of actions that will accompany the strike action. This will include a march through Woolwich to the hospital and a lobby of Parliament where we will be linking up with other trade unions that have been involved in recent disputes with ISS to meet with MP's in the House of Commons. The members will be able to talk about their experiences of working for ISS but also raise the wider question of the impact of outsourcing in the public sector on wages and service quality.
Our member’s demands are just and fair, quite simply, why should they get less than their equivalents who are employed directly by the NHS, just by virtue of the fact they work for a private contractor that seeks to make a profit out of our NHS.”