Domestics and porters at Glasgow Royal Infirmary won a swift and important victory on Tuesday of last week over the multinational company Sodexho. Some 120 workers, members of the Unison union, walked out in a mass unofficial protest.
Sodexho provides catering, cleaning and portering services to North Glasgow NHS trust, and is infamous for profiting from the hated refugee voucher scheme. The company was slated in January after the 'winter vomiting virus' outbreak at Victoria Infirmary. It was blamed for filthy conditions at the Royal Infirmary. It then announced it was sacking ten porters at the Royal Infirmary. But the angry workforce claimed that, with shifts already understaffed by a third, there were too few staff left to cope with the heavy workload.
The walkout and mass demonstration at the hospital gates forced Sodexho to cave in within 24 hours.
After holding talks with Unison branch officers, they have agreed to reinstate the porters and promised to find them permanent jobs. The Sodexho workforce is also angry over the low wages that the company pays. Their wage claim, which was submitted last year, has still not been resolved. The company has also imposed new pay arrangements which don't suit anybody.