Cleaners, caterers and porters at St Mary's Hospital – part of Imperial College NHS Healthcare Trust – are voting to strike for equality of pay grades, terms and conditions as enjoyed by all NHS staff (under the Agenda For Change contract).

They are nearly all migrants from Europe, Africa, Latin America and Asia, employed by the French multinational Sodexo — which made almost €1 billion profit last year.


 
 

OUR STRIKE FUND gives these workers the backing to threaten multiple strike days and whatever other action necessary to break Sodexo’s grip on its profits


 
 

What are the issues?

Pay and T&Cs

They are only paid the minimum wage of £8.21 per hour, and those under the age of 25 get as little as £7.70. By contrast, NHS workers of equivalent pay grade can make up to 10k more per year, in addition to better sick pay, maternity pay, adoption leave pay, and annual leave entitlements.

Uniforms

Some of the workers have been provided with just one uniform. Others, only two or three sets. Naturally, being unable to wash and dry their uniform every day, or every other day, leaves many of them having to wear dirty and unwashed uniforms to work. This naturally gives rise to unpleasant personal hygiene which is degrading for the workers and of concern to patients.

They are now demanding 5 sets of t-shirts and trousers, and a pair of shoes for each worker.

Immunisations

Not all the workers have received the routine immunisations Sodexo is obliged to provide under Health and Safety at Work Act (HSWA) 1974; Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations 1992; and Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations.

This is gravely concerning and something for which we expect any negligent managers to be held accountable.