GMB Welcome Awards From South West TUC For GMB Representatives At Carillion In Swindon Hospital Dispute
Their refusal to back down in the face of intimidation and opposition from Carillion and others - and their leadership over 21 days strike action- is a shining example to working people everywhere says GMB.
GMB, the union for Carillion staff at Swindon Great Western Hospital, welcome the recognition by the South West TUC of the campaign by cleaners, porters and domestic workers at the hospital against bullying, harassment, bribery and corruption. See notes to editors for press release on the Awards Ceremony later today (15Th May) at Exeter City Football Club.
Justin Bowden, GMB National Officer, said "GMB welcomes the fantastic news that our members and their representatives at Swindon Hospital are receiving this recognition and these awards. In recent times, I cannot think of a group of trade members and their fantastic union leaders more deserving of recognition.
Their refusal to back down in the face of intimidation and opposition from Carillion and others at Swindon Hospital - and their leadership over 21 days strike action in the face of bullying, shakedowns, race discrimination and victimisation - is a shining example to working people everywhere.
GMB’s Central Executive Council, when it meets in Plymouth before the GMB Congress next month, will applaud this recognition.
Carillion has got to come to terms with what their managers have done to workers in Swindon and to the workers they blacklisted. They have to accept what they did was wrong and then take steps to put it right.
Until this happens there will be no end to this dispute.”
Contact: Carolle Vallelly on 07912 181476 or Paul Maloney, GMB Regional Secretary on 07801 343839 or Justin Bowden, GMB National Officer on 07710 631351 or Maria Ludkin GMB National Officer for Legal and Corporate Affairs on 07956 632 657 or GMB Press Office: Steve Pryle on 07921 289880 or Rose Conroy on 07974 251823.
Notes to editors
Press release from South West TUC dated 15 May 2013
Cleaners, porters and domestic workers fighting a campaign against bullying, harassment, bribery and corruption at a Swindon hospital will today be recognised by the South West TUC.
Around 150 GMB members employed by Carillion at the town's Great Western Hospital have taken 21 days strike action over the persistent failure of management to deal with evidence of wrong-doing, including the acceptance of bribes to secure preferential holiday dates.
Now their efforts have been rewarded by trade unionists in the South West, with reps picking up the South West TUC 's Campaign and Organising Award at a special ceremony at Exeter City Football Club.
The campaign was co-ordinated by Andy Newman, the branch secretary for Wiltshire and Swindon GMB, who said: "This award is nice, but the real issue is that we've advanced the interests of our members at the hospital. It's good to have the recognition of other trade unionists, but it's more important that we've made progress and we've built organisation there. That's a much more lasting tribute."
As well as recognising the collective efforts of the GMB members, the South West TUC will also reward the individual work of two reps: Jose Estocio, who won the Equalities Award, and Paulo Fernandes, who won the Most Promising New Rep Award.
Jose Estocio said: "I feel great, really happy. The work we have put it is worth it because it feels we've been recognised and appreciated, which is really nice to hear."
Paolo Fernandes added: "I'm very happy that I have been chosen but have been surprised because I had not intended to win – it is not why I became a rep."
The campaign started in 2011 when the GMB suggested members signed a collective grievance against bullying at work by a manager. Expecting a dozen or so to add their names, the union as astonished to receive a petition signed by more than 130 people.
One the signatories was Paulo, who said: "Every day we are afraid to go to work because whatever we do we will be threatened with a disciplinary. This is a constant threat to us – we cannot do anything right in the eyes of this manager – and before we leave home we have to prepare ourselves for this behaviour. It is very hurtful for us to get it all the time.”
The manager has since left the company, but the campaign is on-going, with Carillion refusing to accept there was a cover-up, and more than 50 union members filing claims at an employment tribunal.
Andy Newman said: "There are still outstanding issues at the GWH concerning unfairness in holiday policy, and inappropriate behaviour from supervisors, which GMB is confident could be resolved by negotiation.
"GMB represents 75% of their cleaning staff but Carillion will not talk to the union. The campaign will continue until Carillion agrees to recognise the union their staff have chosen, and resolve the outstanding issues over holidays and bullying.
"Carillion must come to terms with what their managers have done to workers in Swindon and to the workers they blacklisted. There is not much use just making apologies. They have to accept what they did was wrong and then take steps to put it right. Until this happens there will be no end to this dispute."
Paulo Fernandes was nominated for his award after systematically recruiting members ward by ward, and by organising meetings and ballots, keeping members informed.
Andy Newman said: "Paulo has been the key activist in organising the strikes. He has done an extraordinary job of keeping in touch with every member individually as well as starting to represent members in disciplinaries and grievances."
Jose Estrocio was nominated for his award after leading the campaign against racist bullying at the hospital, drafting the collective grievance that was signed by more than 130 staff and offering advice and support to victims of bullying.
Andy Newman said: "Jose has done a brilliant job in inspiring and recruiting 154 people to the union, and in bringing to light the racism and discrimination he and his colleagues have suffered at work."
South West TUC Regional Education Officer Marie Hughes said: "This has been a terrific member-led campaign by the GMB that has achieved terrific results.
"We're delighted to reward the determination and tenacity of members and the leadership quality of their reps. These awards are thoroughly deserved."
contact Tim Lezard 07810 641 459