Cleaners and domestics at St George’s Hospital in Tooting, south London, struck on Monday in a fight over pay. They picketed and then around 150 of them—and their—supporters marched through the streets.
Workers are outsourced to hated privatisation firm Mitie and are members of the GMB union. They are demanding compensation from Mitie for hardship caused by the firm. The company caused huge anger earlier this year when it withheld wages for seven weeks while it restructured pay cycles.
In addition, the union wants all outsourced workers at the hospital employed on pay, terms and conditions equivalent to those that work directly for the NHS.
“We need one contract. We are not treated right,” a striker told Socialist Worker. “The pay is so low I have to get up at 3am to do another job before I come here. Recently Mitie changed our pay day without notification. “One colleague got kicked out of their home because they weren’t able to pay the rent on time.”
The striker also said that privatisation was a form of divide and rule. “We have two different contracts—NHS Agenda for Change and Mitie. Staff are divided by this. Mitie made a lot of people redundant about two years ago when they won a new contract—with the lowest bid—and that means more work for the rest of us.”
Solidarity with striking workers at St George’s Hospital, south London. @GMBSouthern rep John says workers are striking because “we’re fed up with the two tier” workforce with different terms and conditions at outsourcer Mitie. #solidarity pic.twitter.com/hdXzNxKBOg
— Socialist Worker (@socialistworker) May 30, 2022
The GMB is set to follow Monday’s 24-hour strike with two further days of action from Monday. “Our members want compensation for the suffering Mitie put them through,” said GMB regional organiser Helen O’Connor. “And they want fair and equal terms and conditions.”
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