An overwhelming majority of cleaners, porters and caterers have said they are prepared to strike after UNISON consulted members in hospitals across Cornwall.
Workers at Mitie, who employ around 600 staff on a contract with the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust, are campaigning for the same rates as pay as colleagues employed directly by the NHS.
Last year, the lowest paid workers in the NHS were given a £2,000 pay rise as part of a three-year deal negotiated by unions. Tens of thousands of heath staff employed on private contracts, including those at Mitie in Cornwall, did not receive this.
Following the result, UNISON has notified Mitie and the Trust that a formal ballot for industrial action will now take place.
UNISON area organiser Michael Auguste said:
“Our members have sent a strong message to Mitie that they won’t be treated as second class employees and are prepared to strike if they aren’t put on an equal footing with their NHS colleagues.
“We are hopeful that we can avoid industrial action, but this will only happen if Mitie and the Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust work with UNISON to find a resolution.
“Our members have seen UNISON’s successes across the country on this issue, including this month with Sodexo workers in Doncaster. They know that fair pay is possible if the contractor and the NHS trust have the will to make it happen.
“All hospital workers are part of the NHS team and should be paid fairly for the vital jobs they do. After months and months of ignoring staff, it’s time Mitie paid up.”
Notes to editors:
– The NHS pay framework agreement was reached last June following months of negotiation between unions, employers and ministers. The three-year deal meant pay increases for over a million workers on Agenda for Change contracts and was backdated to April 2018. However, tens of thousands of health staff employed on private contracts have not received a penny.
– UNISON is campaigning across the country to ensure these outsourced health workers don’t lose out when it comes to their pay. Recent notable successes with winning NHS rates include: catering workers employed by Sodexo at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospital; 50 cleaners, porters, catering and security staff employed by OCS at Liverpool Women’s Hospital; over 330 staff at iFM Bolton, a wholly owned subsidiary,
– UNISON is the UK’s largest union, with more than 1.3 million members providing public services – in education, local government, the NHS, police service and energy. They are employed in both the public and private sectors.