Outsourced health workers at Liverpool Women’s Hospital have ratcheted up their fight for equal pay after a solid walkout last month.
The Unison union members took to the picket lines on Monday—and were set to strike again on Wednesday.
The 40 cleaners, porters and other support staff, who work for multinational OCS, are demanding the same rate of pay as workers employed directly by the NHS.
Some of them are up to £2,150 a year worse off than directly employed workers doing similar jobs.
Kerry Cornwall is a Unison member and catering assistant. “An extra pound an hour would mean I can possibly take my kids on a small break or make their birthdays or Christmases a little more memorable,” she said.
“It wouldn’t make me rich, but it would make my life a little richer by taking some of my financial worry away. And I play a part in keeping our NHS going—so it’s only fair that I should get NHS pay.”
Paula Barker, Unison’s regional convenor, said, “OCS made £47 million profit last year but won’t give our members a £1.10 per hour pay rise.
“These valuable workers feed patients but can’t afford to feed their families.”
Managers employed by OCS have seen their pay increase by more than 10 percent since the company took over the contract.
A delegation of Unison members came from Wales to show support for the strike.Strikes by other workers in the North West of England have forced outsourced companies at other hospitals to sign up to NHS pay and terms and conditions.
A two-day strike at the Royal Bolton Hospital—with the threat of further action—won equal pay last October.
Their win showed that longer programmes of action can win quick results.
Every trade unionist should support the fight of the Liverpool Women’s Hospital workers.