Some of the lowest-paid workers in the NHS are preparing to strike this week.
Over 100 domestics, porters, and catering staff employed by Medirest at Amersham and Wycombe hospitals in Buckinghamshire plan to walk out for 48 hours from Wednesday morning.
The workers, who are members of the Unison union, are angry at their employers’ refusal to honour Agenda for Change terms that apply to most NHS staff. Medirest workers in Buckinghamshire earn less than their counterparts in other areas and suffer worse conditions.
Medirest staff get statutory sick pay of only £79.15 a week—compared with the full pay for at least one month that workers employed by the NHS receive.
Bosses say they cannot afford to pay the proper rate for the job, but Unison points out that Compass, Medirest’s parent company, made £800 million profit last year. Compass has hundreds of NHS contracts across Britain.
Steve Bell, secretary of Buckinghamshire health Unison, says, “We always see strikes as a last resort. We’ve tried to negotiate with Compass but there has been no progress.
“All we are asking is what are members are entitled to.”
Join pickets at Wycombe general hospital, Queen Alexandra Rd, High Wycombe HP11 2TT and Amersham hospital, Whielden Street, Amersham, Buckinghamshire HP7 0JD from 10am until midnight, Wednesday 15 December, and 10am until midnight, Thursday 16 December.
Send donations and messages of support to: Bucks Health Unison, c/o union offices, Tindal Centre, Bierton Road, Aylesbury, Bucks HP22. Make cheques payable to Bucks Health Unison Hardship Fund