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07.10.2020 / News / Press releases /

Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital found in potential breach of race discrimination laws over the outsourcing of their mainly black and brown cleaners, claims union

Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital found in potential breach of race discrimination laws over the outsourcing of their mainly black and brown cleaners, claims union.

  • Freedom of Information requests sent by United Voices of the World to Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital reveal the NHS Trust has never undertaken an Equality Impact Assessment over its decision to outsource hundreds of BAME and migrant cleaners and security guards
  • Freedom of Information requests also reveal no such assessments have been undertaken in the last ten years despite being a legal requirement to do so
  • The revelations mark the latest turn in a conflict between the trade union United Voices of the World (UVW) and GOSH which UVW officials say is headed for strike action

Today it can be revealed that world renowned children’s hospital Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital (GOSH) has failed to undertake a single Equality Impact Assessment over its decision to exclude hundreds of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) cleaners from NHS pay rates and other terms and conditions of employment by outsourcing them to the private contractor OCS which provides them with significantly lower rates of pay and other T&Cs than NHS employees. 

The revelation came from a series of Freedom of Information (FoI) requests made by trade union United Voices of the World (UVW) which represents cleaners and security guards at GOSH who are demanding to become direct employees of the NHS rather than be outsourced to a private contractor. 

The FOIs showed that whilst GOSH was aware it had failed to adhere to the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) it did not propose to do anything about it. 

The PSED was brought into force in 2010 with the passing of the Equality Act and requires public authorities to assess their policies, processes and services so neither their employees or service users are unlawfully discriminated against on the grounds of race, religion, sexual orientation and other characteristics. These reviews are known as Equality Impact Assessments.

UVW officials believe the revelations will help pave the way for a future legal challenge against the NHS Trust on the grounds the current outsourcing arrangement amounts to indirect racial discrimination.

An argument the union is also in the process of making against other employers such as St. George’s University of London and the Ministry of Justice.

UVW officials believe the legal challenges could set a precedent ending vast swathes of outsourcing contracts across the country.

Petros Elia, a UVW organiser currently leading a campaign at GOSH to end the outsourcing of cleaners and security guards, said in response to the revelations: “This is disgraceful. There is no excuse for GOSH to have never carried out an Equality Impact Assessment which is there to ensure that their policies don’t discriminate. Outsourcing black and brown workers on inferior pay rate and T&Cs to what they would otherwise get if they weren’t outsourced is racist in my opinion and the Equality Impact Assessment would show that, which must be why they [GOSH] haven’t done one yet. And that’s why the cleaners at GOSH will soon strike if necessary, in order to demand equality of pay and treatment.”

Gora Diop, a domestic who has been working at GOSH since 2016 said the following: “There is a clear division at GOSH between black workers, who get put on the worst contracts, and management which is overwhelmingly white. We have been working tirelessly throughout this pandemic to support the hospital. So it is a slap in the face to find out these assessments have never been done. All we are asking for is equality and for GOSH to follow the law. And if we have to go on strike to make that happen then we will”.

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Editors notes

For more information and quotes contact:

Petros Elia, Organiser, petros@uvwunion.org.uk 07884 553443

Kane Shaw, Press Officer, kane@uvwunion.org.uk 07950 927798

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