UPCOMING EVENT: Get the inside story of this campaign from GMB Union organiser, Helen O’Connor on Thursday, 19th March 2020 at 7pm LIVE ONLINE. REGISTER HERE.
Dozens of low paid cleaners, porters and catering staff have staged walkouts at Lewisham hospital because they are not being paid.
The staff say they decided to walk out because private contractor ISS has failed to pay their wages since February 27, leaving some of them without enough money to pay their rent or buy food.
The staff should have been paid on March 12 but many staff say they did not receive any wages or were underpaid.
ISS blame administrative errors and have said they are taking urgent steps to rectify the payment problems. Emergency payments would be made were needed and they had apologised to staff affected.
But Helen O’Connor, GMB union organiser, said ISS had twice promised to sort out the problems but that many staff had still not received wages.
She urged ISS, the outsourcing company, to pay staff a £100 goodwill payment while they sorted out all the problems.
The first case of coronavirus in London was confirmed at Lewisham Hospital on February 13 and there are concerns hospital wards may be left uncleaned if the dispute escalates.
ISS took over services at Lewisham in February. Most of the staff are paid the minimum wage (£8.21 an hour) and have been battling for the London Living Wage of £10.55.
ISS have agreed the higher rate of pay but insist staff undertake a three-month training programme before they receive it.
GMB organiser Helen says: “This could not have happened at a worse time – we are facing a coronavirus pandemic and infected patients are now being admitted into the hospital.
“Meanwhile the people who are meant to be keeping the hospital clean and safe are not getting paid.Once again the dangers of outsourcing in the NHS are laid bare for all to see.”
ISS stressed the dispute had not affected the services it provides. It stressed it was continuing to “maintain the high standards of hygiene” at the hospital .
UPDATE – 15 March 2020
We have heard from Helen O’Connor, organiser with GMB Union that many of the cleaners have still not received their pay. See the below video update for more: