Belfast Telegraph

Hospital staff set to stage strikes in pay dispute

Cleaners, porters and security staff at four London hospitals are to stage a three-day strike in a dispute over pay.

Members of Unite at Barts Health NHS Trust employed by Serco, will walk out on Tuesday, followed by a seven-day stoppage from July 11 and a 14-day strike starting on July 25.

Further strike action will also be planned for August and September.

Gloria Sindall, Unite regional officer said: "Workers across four London hospitals will be taking strike action this week in a battle against low pay.

"Cleaners, porters and security staff have seen their real living standards drop year on year.

"Workers are now demanding a 30p per hour wage increase.

"Serco made over £80 million in profit last year but managers are refusing to share these earnings fairly and protect the living standards of the workers.

"Rather than try to settle this dispute the private contractor Serco wasted valuable time by offering absolutely nothing new for the workforce at talks with Acas last week.

"Unite members are fed up and are preparing for a series of strikes to demand a fair and proper pay rise which recognises the contribution they make to Serco and to Barts."

Serco contract director Phil Mitchell said: "We are disappointed by Unite's planned action given everything we have done to improve pay and conditions for our staff at Barts Health NHS Trust in the six months since we began our contract.

"We believe strongly in ensuring our dedicated team are rewarded fairly, which is why we agreed with the trust to pay all our team members a minimum of the London living wage from day one.

"This resulted in an increase in pay for over 230 team members and benefited over 110 permanent staff by an average of 3.5%.

"For those team members on higher salaries, we have offered a pay increase for this year which is in line with that for NHS staff.

"We're determined to ensure that Unite's action does not impact on patients.

"We have robust plans in place aimed at ensuring we can continue to support the Trust's hospitals to operate as normal during the action planned for Tuesday and Wednesday."