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Sodexo GMB Brighton Talks

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

GMB and Sodexo to meet in London today (9th January) to avert action at Sussex hospitals as company apologises to Staff.

The Company must pay staff properly and compensate for losses and revisit their redundancy programme says GMB.

GMB and Sedexo will meet at 3.30pm today (9th January) in London to seek to resolve the dispute involving support staff on NHS contracts at Brighton and Haywards Heath Hospitals.

Since taking over the contract on 1 December 2012 the company left many staff without proper wages, which left them struggling to pay bills or buy basic supplies such as food for their families. They also announced a redundancy programme with substantial job losses.

In response GMB conducted a ballot for industrial action and the result is due on Friday 11th January. GMB also staged a demonstration on Monday 7th January and took steps to file claims for underpayment of wages with the Employment Tribunal.

Sodexo yesterday issued an apology to these GMB members. They work as cleaners, caterers, housekeepers and porters on NHS contracts at Brighton and Haywards Heath Hospitals.

In the letter issued to GMB members yesterday ( 8 January) Sodexo Healthcare Managing Director Simon Scrivens said:

“I would like to apologise unreservedly to anybody who has experienced a problem, and for the frustration and anxiety this has caused.

The issues with our system were caused by several factors and included incorrect bank details, incorrect overtime and enhancement calculations and delays in managers approving payments for work done. None of these are acceptable.

I am personally committed to ensuring that we resolve these issues quickly and effectively. I would like to thank you again for your continued support and understanding whilst my team resolve these issues, and again my sincere apologies for the distress and inconvenience these problems have caused.”

GMB Organiser Gary Palmer said: “This apology is a first step from Sodexo but words are cheap and we now need to see action. The Company must now keep to their promise to ensure that staff are properly paid and compensated for their losses. They must also revisit their redundancy program.

GMB and senior representatives of the company will now be meeting at 3.30pm in London to see if there is a way to resolve the remainder of this dispute without the need for industrial action taking place. As always it will be GMB members who decide whether any deal is acceptable to them.”

Lord Bassam of Brighton, Labour member of the shadow cabinet, said 'I am pleased that Sodexo have finally woken up to the need to treat staff they employ with respect and for their handling of pay their management of services.

The company should fully compensate staff who lost money and who were inconvenienced over Christmas. Some families had a miserable time going short in some cases of essentials. I'd like to see some expression of goodwill to those affected and for the threats of redundancy to be withdrawn’

Contact Gary Palmer, GMB Organiser on 07552165950 or Charles Harrity, GMB Senior Organiser on 07977518042 or Rob Macey, GMB Senior Organiser 07710 618 908 or Lord Bassam on 07876 478160 GMB Press Office on 07921 289880

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