On December 10 2020, Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) declared it will end outsourcing and bring hundreds of cleaners into their direct employment from 1st August 2021. The decision follows a hard fought campaign by our members at GOSH.
UVW submitted a 45-page claim to the Board of GOSH and were poised to commence a ballot for industrial action when GOSH conceded to our members’ demands. We had also threatened legal action against GOSH on the grounds that their outsourcing arrangement amounted to unlawful race discrimination in breach of the Equality Act 2010.
This victory puts an end to discriminatory outsourcing at GOSH, where outsourcing company OCS employed cleaners – almost all of whom are Black, Brown and/or migrants – on far worse pay rates and terms and conditions than their majority White in-house colleagues, including only being given Statutory Sick Pay of about £19 a day rather than the NHS’ full pay sick pay rates. Read more about the dispute below!
Hundreds of cleaners at the world-renowned Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital (GOSH) have had enough of racial discrimination and a two-tier system which sees them working in the NHS but denied NHS rates of pay, terms and conditions and other benefits.
Outsourced to the low wage outfit OCS, this almost entirely Black, Brown and migrant workforce is fighting back against what many of them describe as a culture of cronyism and bullying which sees workers arbitrarily disciplined by managers and their White colleagues consistently placed on better and more secure contracts.
Many of them have been left without the essentials to do their jobs, such as spare uniforms, spare shoes, vaccinations and only get the bare minimum that the law guarantees which is far inferior to their NHS counterparts.
They are demanding not only full equality with NHS staff… but are demanding to be made NHS employees! They have let management know they are willing to strike to make that happen.
These workers are not just using industrial strike action to win, they are also bringing a ground-breaking legal claim against the NHS Trust which will argue the decision to outsource them amounts to indirect race discrimination.
The case could see the workers put an end to vast swathes of outsourcing contracts across the UK which disproportionately puts Black, Brown and migrant workers onto contracts where they are paid poverty wages with little to no job security or benefits above the measly legal minimum.
On November 16 2020, UVW submitted a formal claim to GOSH CEO, Dr Matthew Shaw, and the rest of GOSH’s board members, requesting they end the practice of outsourcing and bring the hundreds of cleaners (‘domestic workers’ in NHS parlance) currently employed by the private contractor OCS into the GOSH family. We have also requested that in the interim the cleaners are afforded complete parity of pay and terms and conditions with NHS Agenda for Change (AfC) contracts.
Our 45-page claim – which you can download below – makes a comprehensive case for in-housing. It demonstrates through peer reviewed studies and analyses of the actual experiences of institutions which have transitioned to an in-house provision of cleaning services that not only does in-housing bring about marked improvements in clinical and cleanliness outcomes, a particularly pressing priority in light of the Coronavirus pandemic, but also that they often see a reduction in the overall cleaning budget due to the ‘false economy’ and hidden costs of outsourcing.
Our members have already unanimously voted in favour of industrial action, including strike action, in a recent consultative ballot when asked if they would strike in pursuance of their demand to be employed directly by GOSH. However, we sincerely hope that an actual strike ballot, let alone strike action, will not prove necessary and that GOSH will instead recognise our claim as an opportunity to work cooperatively and amicably with UVW in order to eradicate the often institutionally racist practice of outsourcing and to ensure the well-being and dignity of the cleaners and the best possible clinical outcomes for patients.
Formal claim to Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH)
Inhouse & T&Cs
Complete equality with NHS staff by ending outsourcing at GOSH and making these workers NHS employees!
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