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GMB calls for strike over ‘two-tier’ hospital workforce    

3 March 2015


More than 200 workers employed by ISS at a London hospital as cleaners, security, ward hostesses, caterers, switchboard operators and porters are planning strike action next week in a dispute over a “two-tier workforce”.

 

The workers, who are members of trade union GMB, are to strike at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich on Monday 9 March to Friday 13 March.

 

They are staging the walkout because they want the same pay rates and weekend enhancements and unsocial hours rates as the staff directly employed by the NHS Trust. Currently, ISS workers are paid between £7.10 and £7.32 an hour.

 

The lowest rate for directly employed staff is £7.33 an hour, which moves in yearly increments to £7.51 and £7.69 under the current NHS pay progression system.

 

GMB says ISS staff who work unsocial hours are paid between 90p and £2.05 an hour. As direct staff they would be entitled to pay of time-and-a-half.

 

Nadine Houghton, GMB regional officer, said: “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?”

 

But an ISS spokesman said: “ISS is disappointed that the single trades union has decided to embark upon this action. The company has constantly maintained its position and have clearly demonstrated to all the trades unions involved at the hospital that all funding received relating to employee terms and conditions have been passed, in full, to their members.

 

“It is therefore a matter of regret that we still see GMB continue to induce their members to take industrial action, adding further inconvenience for the patients and families that use QEH. In addition, the GMB continue to misrepresent the facts in relation to the commercial arrangements in place between the trust and ISS,” he added.