Socialist Worker

Outsourced workers fight to win NHS pay

by Tomáš Tengely-Evans
Issue No. 2646

“Pay up”—SAY striking health workers in Liverpool

“Pay up”—SAY striking health workers in Liverpool (Pic: Unison North West)


Solidarity is growing for outsourced workers’ fight for equal pay at Liverpool Women’s Hospital.

The Unison union members held their third strike on Wednesday of last week.

The 40 cleaners, porters and other support staff are demanding the same rates of pay as workers employed directly by the NHS.

Trade unionists from the north west of England joined workers on the picket line.

They included members of St Helens and Knowsley Unison health branches and Halton Unison branch.

Nurses and other ­workers from Liverpool Women’s Hospital also showed their support.

Entitled

Julie Copeland, a ward sister, said, “They go above and beyond every day in helping us to care for patients.

“They’re as much part of our team as anyone and they should be recognised and paid fairly.”

The workers are employed by multinational giant the OCS Group—which reported a £40 million net profit in its last published accounts.

And Unison said it had “learned managers have seen their pay increase by more than 10 percent since the company took over the contract”.

“Managers now enjoy salaries close to £50,000, while frontline workers are struggling to get by on the minimum wage,” it said.

Some strikers are up to £2,150 a year worse off than directly-employed NHS workers who do similar jobs.

Maria Moss, Unison North West regional organiser, said, “OCS have decided not to pay its frontline staff the proper NHS rate for their job, and instead leave them on the minimum wage.

“Meanwhile, they have found the money to bump up the pay of their managers.

“The NHS is based on the principles of fairness and equality.

“But OCS seem to think that it’s alright for them to turn that on its head and impoverish frontline workers while favoured managers get arbitrary pay rises.

“OCS need to recognise that all hospital workers should be treated fairly and they should be paid the NHS rate for the job.”

Trade unionists should build solidarity for the Liverpool Women’s Hospital workers’ fight.

Tweet messages of support to @NorthWestUNISON

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