Downloading PDF. Please wait... Issue 2789

Two-week pay strike at east London’s Barts NHS trust

Barts Health NHS Trust in east London should take the workers back in-house
Issue 2789
Ten strikers, mostly black and brown, with placards such as "Pay Up Serco", "Caution Slippery Serco"

Health workers at Barts Health NHS Trust struck over pay in 2017 (Pic: Guy Smallman)

Hundreds of cleaners, porters, and security, catering and reception staff are set to strike for two weeks at three hospitals in east London at the end of this month.

The Unite union members —employed by outsourcing giant Serco—are based at Barts, the Royal London and Whipps Cross hospitals.

They plan to walk out from next Monday in a pay dispute. 

Workers voted in December last year by a whopping 97 percent to strike over an insulting 3 percent offer. They already take home some 15 percent lower pay than they would if employed directly by the NHS.

Barts Health must be forced to reemploy the Serco workers on NHS terms and conditions.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “These workers face the same risks as NHS-employed staff but they are paid significantly worse and treated disgracefully.

“Barts Health NHS Trust have a golden opportunity to bring these workers, employed by Serco not the NHS, back into NHS employment.

“It’s time to end the injustice of a two-tier workforce. Unite is 100 percent behind our members’ battle against low pay and exploitation.”

SOS NHS coalition calls for national day of action 

A new coalition of NHS campaign groups and trade unions are coming together to demand a massive increase in health service funding.

The SOS NHS group is supported by Keep Our NHS Public and many of the biggest health trade unions – including Unison, Unite and the GMB.

It is calling for a nationwide day of action on Saturday 26 February, with full details yet to be announced.

The group says its “strategic objective” is to demand immediate emergency funding of £20 billion for the NHS – and “proper pay” for health workers.

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