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Hospital Workers Strike 21 March

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Hospital Workers To Strike At Maudsley, Lambeth, Lewisham And Bethlem Hospitals On Monday 21st March For A Living Wage, Sick Pay And Unsocial Hours Payments

With a profit of $1.4bn, American multinational outsourcing provider Aramark can well afford to pay their staff a proper wage says GMB.

GMB, the union for staff in the health service, will hold a strike at four South London Hospitals on Monday 21st March for 175 members working as cleaners and hostesses for private contractor Aramark.

GMB members will make history by leading the first strike against Aramark in the UK, having voted 97% in favour of industrial action. They will be seeking a living wage and fairer arrangements for sick pay and unsocial hours payments.

Picketing will begin at 6.45 at the following addresses:

Maudsley Hospital
Denmark Hill
London
SE5 8AZ

Bethlem Royal Hospital
Monks Orchard Road
Beckenham
BR3 3BX

Lambeth Hospital
108 Landor Road
London
SW9 9NT

Ladywell Unit
Lewisham Hospital
University Hospital Lewisham
Lewisham High Street 
London

SE13 6LH 

Press photo call will be at 10am. All pickets will be outside main hospital entrances.

Many of the staff who keep the hospital sites clean and prepare and serve food to patients are paid as little as £7.38 per hour and receive only 10 days of sick pay per year. Sick pay is only provided after the first 3 days of illness and workers in their first year of service receive no sick pay at all.

Nadine Houghton, GMB regional organiser said: "GMB members are serious about fighting for something that any worker should be entitled to: A wage they can live on and a sick pay scheme which ensures they won’t be forced into poverty as a result of falling ill.

"Aramark make a profit by paying workers as little as possible. GMB members in South London and Maudsley NHS Trust are now saying enough is enough, they should be rewarded properly for the work they do.

Our members are proud to be making history by leading the first strike in the UK against Aramark. Predominantly low paid women workers, the bravery our members are showing in this fight against an aramark multinational is inspiring. One woman was telling me how she was punched in the face by one of the patients while she was serving food on the ward - all for £7:38 ph!

Aramark is a $14.3 billion, American owned, multinational outsourcing provider. They can afford to pay their staff a proper wage."

End

Contact: Nadine Houghton on 07714239227 or Andy Prendergast on 07984492726 or GMB press office on 07970 863411 or 07739 182691

Notes to editors

1 GMB press release dated Thursday, January 21, 2016

Dispute Looms At Of South London And Maudsley NHS Trust As Pay Talks With Contactor Aramark For £10 Per Hour Living Wage Stall

Next step is seeking permission for official strike ballot and there will protest demonstrations on 2nd and 9th February says GMB.

A dispute looms as pay talks covering 175 GMB members employed as domestics and hostesses by private contractor Aramark at four sites of South London and Maudsley NHS Trust (SLAM) have stalled.

The pay talks which have broken down cover members at the Maudsley, Lambeth, Bethlem and Ladywell sites where GMB is seeking a living wage of £10per hour and an end to two tier arrangements on sick pay and shift allowances.

GMB officers will now seek permission to proceed to an official strike ballot. GMB will also be calling demonstrations outside the sites as part of the campaign for a living wage and an end to the two tier workforce in the NHS.

The details of the protests so far agreed are as follows:

from 2:30 - 3:30pm on the 2nd February,
and from 2 - 3pm on the 9th February.
outside the Bethlem Royal Hospital
Monks Orchard Road
Beckenham
BR3 3BX

Aramark is an American owned multinational outsourcing provider turning over $13billion. It pays many staff on the SLAM contract as little as £7:30ph for providing front line services to mental health patients.

Nadine Houghton, GMB regional organiser said: "It's unfortunate that we have been forced to ask our members whether or not they are prepared to strike but we have consistently told Aramark that our members provide a front line service in a mental health trust within London and as such they deserve to be paid a genuine living wage of £10ph, full sick pay and proper shift allowances.

Our members are working around many vulnerable individuals, sometimes they are verbally and even physically attacked and yet many of them are unable to take sick leave as they are not paid for this, some of them also receive no extra pay for working weekends and bank holidays. they have rejected the offer that Aramark made to them as it went nowhere near satisfying the members demands.

GMB will continue to press for a living wage to be set at £10 per hour as agreed at GMB Congress. Members make clear in their experience you need at least £10 an hour and a full working week to have a decent life free from benefits and tax credits. Less than £10 an hour means just existing not living. It means a life of isolation, unable to socialise. It means a life of constant anxiety over paying bills and of borrowing from friends, family and pay day loan sharks just to make ends meet."

End

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