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11.03.2022 / Press releases /

Strike averted as Great Ormond Street Hospital agrees to give hundreds of cleaners full NHS contracts

  • Hundreds of cleaners and United Voices of the World members at Great Ormond Street Hospital, who had been due to take strike action next week, will now be given full NHS contracts from 1 April 2022.
  • Following the hospital’s last minute concession, a two-day strike organised by United Voices of the World has been averted and cleaners will no longer be taking action alongside striking security guards.
  • Security guards at the hospital, who are currently taking six weeks of strike action, are now the only workers on site who are outsourced and not on full NHS contracts.

United Voices of the World (UVW) is pleased to announce that a two-day strike, which had been due to take place at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH), has been averted. Last minute concessions by bosses at GOSH mean hundreds of cleaners, who were in-housed last summer, will now be given full NHS contracts from 1 April 2022. 

Before this announcement, the hospital failed to afford the cleaners the full range of Agenda for Change (Afc) Terms and Conditions (T&Cs) NHS employees are entitled to and that other GOSH staff receive. The hospital had been giving the cleaners improved conditions in dribs and drabs but key terms such as overtime and unsociable working hours pay remained unaligned with the rest of their colleagues. For the low-paid workers, who regularly work overnight, evening and weekend shifts, the lack of enhanced pay meant thousands of pounds less per year compared to other hospital workers. 

Security guards at the hospital, who are currently taking six weeks of strike action, are now the only workers on site who are outsourced and not on full NHS contracts.

The hospital threatened the cleaner’s union UVW with yet another injunction when served with the notice of the upcoming strike. But in a turnaround, following frantic meetings to avoid hundreds of cleaners walking out of their jobs, the hospital agreed to speed up the promised harmonisation of the T&Cs and the threat of injunction dissolved.  

A group of a GOSH cleaners and UVW members are also currently suing the hospital for alleged indirect race discrimination during the years they were outsourced on inferior contracts. 

This follows the unprecedented and groundbreaking legal victory of UVW and its Royal Parks attendant members against racist outsourcing last December. An Employment Tribunal ruled the inferior pay of the outsourced predominantly Black, brown and migrant group of workers was the result of indirect race discrimination. 

In its quest against outsourcing, UVW is launching a series of legal challenges which aim to progressively bring down the discriminatory two-tiered system puting Black, brown and migrant workers at a disadvantage. 

Next week, another landmark ruling is expected as security guards at St George’s, University of London, challenge what they claim is racist outsourcing in a hearing at the London (South) Employment Tribunal. 

The GOSH security guards have also started legal proceedings against the hospital. 

Memuna Kabia, cleaner for GOSH and UVW member, said:

“We are all so happy. Our lives are going to change so much because now we know we are fully GOSH employees and it’s permanent. No more humiliation and bullying for us. No more disrespect.  It means a lot to us. And I know our colleagues, the outsourced security guards who are on strike, need to keep fighting because it will happen for them too. They have to keep going and we are going to support them in whichever way we can so they can overcome this injustice too. I’ve got to believe that the hospital will bring them in-house too. We are all behind the security guards in their efforts. Thumbs up to UVW. We had nothing until UVW came to help us, so thank you UVW for all you’ve done for us. Greatest union ever.”

Petros Elia, general secretary for UVW, said:

“This news marks yet another massive UVW win at GOSH which has come about because our members rightly threatened to strike on 17th March if GOSH delayed treating them as equals any longer. It says all you need to know about GOSH, and their CEO Matthew Shaw, that it takes the threat of a strike for them to do the right thing. We expect them now to do the right thing in respect of their security guards who have been on strike for weeks now and still only get Statutory Sick Pay. Our members will never tolerate being treated second class by GOSH or any employer, and we will fight for as long as it takes and with everything it takes until dignity and equality are guaranteed.”

For further information contact the UVW comms team.

Jim: 07749 765264

Isabel: 07706987443

E-mail: comms@uvwunion.org.uk     

Notes for editors

UVW’s campaigns at GOSH:

UVW’s previous press releases about the fight against outsourcing at GOSH:

UVW is an anti-racist, member-led, direct action, campaigning trade union and we exist to support and empower the most vulnerable groups of precarious, low-paid and predominantly Black, brown and migrant workers in the UK. We fight the bosses through direct action on the streets and through the courts and demand that all members receive at least the London Living Wage, full pay, sick pay, dignity, equality and respect.

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