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Low pay protest

Hospital workers start fortnight strike
Ciaran Naidoo, Monday, July 24th, 2017

Pressure is growing on the private contractor Serco as hundreds of low paid workers at Barts Health NHS Trust prepare for a two week strike from tomorrow (Tuesday July 25) in their continuing fight against low pay.


Unite and Serco held face to face talks on Friday (July 21) but Serco was unable to make an offer that addressed the genuine concerns of all the workforce who have endured getting poorer year on year.


Unite and Serco met once already at the company’s request at the beginning of July where the company refused to make a revised offer.


Workers have already held a 48-hour strike from Tuesday July 4 and took seven days of action from Tuesday July 11. Workers will now begin a 14 day strike and further strike action will also be planned for August and September unless Serco comes forward with a reasonable offer for the entire workforce.


“Hundreds of low paid workers remain determined to fight for a decent pay rise which recognises the important contribution they make to keeping Barts safe and clean,” said Unite regional officer Ruth Hydon.


“Serco is failing to seriously address the genuine concerns of the low paid workforce who are getting even poorer year on year. Serco is a multimillion pound company and it can afford to reward its workers fairly.


“Now four London hospitals face a two week strike by cleaners, porters and patient catering staff. We urge Serco to get serious about resolving this dispute and come back to the table with an offer that addresses the rising cost of living faced by our members every day.”


Serco won the £600m soft services contract for Barts Health NHS Trust last year. The company made a profit of £82m, and pays its chief executive over £1m a year.


Unite members, employed by Serco as domestic staff, porters and security workers at Barts Health NHS Trust, want a 30p per hour wage increase but the claim has been rejected by Serco.


Workers also called for a strike ballot because porters at Whipps Cross Hospital are up in arms over Serco’s plans to cut jobs, and to make matters worse Serco has also increased workloads to unsustainable levels for cleaners across the Trust.




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