'David and Goliath' pay battle

Security guards on Covid frontline in ‘David and Goliath’ pay battle

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Security staff at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading who are currently locked in a pay battle with their employer, will be striking for five days this month.

The 20 low paid security guards are striking from 7am on Monday December 14 until 7pm on Friday December 18 over the failure of their to make a decent pay offer for 2020.

The security personnel are employed by Kingdom Services Group Ltd, a major corporate service provider with a £100 million plus turnover.

“What we have here is a ‘David and Goliath’ struggle between our members seeking a pay increase to £12 an hour for security officers and £13.00 an hour for security supervisors against a management which is part of a global organisation with a £100 million turnover,” said Jesika Parmar, Unite regional officer.

The security staff provide security 24/7 for Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust which is on the Covid-19 frontline.

“Our members are very reluctant to take industrial action during a national crisis, but strongly feel, reflected by the 100 per cent vote in favour of strike action, that the bosses are using coronavirus as an excuse to drive down pay and employment conditions which is totally unacceptable,” said Jesika.

Management have refused to engage in talks over the 2020 pay award as well as other issues, like harmonisation of sick pay, and enhanced pay for working nights, weekends and overtime.

“We believe that strike action would cause severe reputational damage to the company. However, Unite’s door remains open for constructive talks with the company to resolve this dispute,” added Jesika.

By Shaun Noble

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