UNION

Private NHS profiteer could be 'in contempt of Parliament'

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07 Feb 2019
Press Office

Press Office

The Government has warned a private NHS contractor could be in contempt of Parliament after trying to prevent GMB from speaking to MPs

Private company ISS, which holds the cleaning, catering and portering contract at Kingston Hospital, refuse to give workers sick pay– even one who suffered a stroke – as well as denying them a living wage.

This means cash-strapped workers head into the hospital for work even if they are seriously ill – creating an infection risk for patients.

 “Mr Hancock cannot just kick this into the long grass.”

Helen O'Connor, GMB Organiser:

ISS tried to resolve the matter by offering GMB a recognition agreement that would have prevented the union ever raising any of its members issues with any politician - a unheard clause and one that cabinet Minister David Liddington stated may be in contempt of Parliament.

Hundreds of people protested against ISS’s shocking treatment of workers at a mass rally last week. 

 

Responding to a question from Steve Reed MP during Prime Minister’s Questions, Cabinet Minister David Lidington said:

“There is no excuse for any organisation, nor any individual, to try and stop a constituent approaching their member of parliament and while it is a matter utterly for you Mr Speaker…there have been previous occasions where such attempts have been ruled as a contempt of a Parliament.”

Mr Lidington also said health secretary Matt Hancock is ready to go through the sick pay issue with Mr Reed. 

Helen O'Connor, GMB Organiser, said:

“It’s good the Government acknowledge ISS's no campaigning clause potentially leaves them in contempt of parliament.

“And we’re glad the draconian terms of the contract are so serious as to lead to discussions with the Secretary of State.

“However we call for urgent action from the health secretary; this is clearly a massive public health issue – not only for our members themselves but from the infection risk to the patients

 “Mr Hancock cannot just kick this into the long grass.”

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