Socialist Worker

Outsourced workers at Homerton hospital celebrate sick pay victory

Issue No. 2716

Homerton workers were on recent pay protests

Homerton workers were on recent pay protests (Pic: Dave Gilchrist)


Outsourced workers at Homerton University Hospital in east London have won sick pay after a long-running campaign.

The Unison and GMB unions have been demanding the same sickness pay for the cleaners, porters, caterers and other support staff as workers directly employed by the NHS.

But the battle goes on to bring the contract back in house from outsourcing giant ISS.

Its contract has been renewed for five years.

Sick pay will now include six months of full pay and six months’ half pay.

Carol Shorter, a Unison union organiser, said. “Statutory sick pay is poverty pay and we are pleased to see the back of it at Homerton hospital.

“This is a fantastic victory for our members who have fought hard against the inequalities of the two-tier workforce in the NHS.

“Unison will continue to campaign for full NHS terms and conditions for our members, and for these services to be brought back in-house.”

Lola McEvoy, a GMB union organiser, said, “The use of statutory sick pay in hospitals like Homerton is not only cruel but dangerous.

“This battle has been gruelling, but buoyed by this win, the fight for fairness continues.”

All outsourced workers should be brought back in house.


Sign on for a DWP struggle

Department for Work and Pension (DWP) workers in the PCS union are to be consulted on taking industrial action over plans to lengthen working hours.

Tory ministers want jobcentres and Universal Credit service centres to open until 8pm Monday to Friday from 30 November.

Workers are already being driven to end home working. Now they also face extended periods of contact with people during a possible  second wave of coronavirus.

DWP bosses can extend opening hours to 8pm under a pay deal wrongly agreed to by the PCS in 2016.

Bosses have to show they need to extend operating hours—and the PCS says there’s no evidence for this.

The union is set to run a consultative ballot from 17 August to 7 September.


Anger after fire pay insult 

Firefighters and control room workers are discussing industrial action against an “insulting” 2 percent pay increase.

FBU union leader Matt Wrack slammed the proposed deal offered by fire service bosses after firefighters took on extra duties during the coronavirus crisis.

The FBU says it is consulting its members on the below-inflation offer, and will “discuss campaigning options around pay and conditions over the coming year, including various forms of industrial action.”

Firefighters have taken on 14 extra areas of work in response to the pandemic. These include driving ambulances, delivering supplies and moving bodies.

The FBU has also agreed to further duties including assembling personal protective equipment, and training care home workers in infection prevention and control.

FBU members have previously rejected plans to take on extra work for little extra pay. Taking on such duties can also mean doing work that should be performed by NHS workers.

After a decade of pay freezes and below-inflation increases, firefighters are around £4,000 worse off than they were in 2010.


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