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Staff protesting.

Staff protesting. Photo: Gaz Murphy

Outsourced workers vote to strike and be brought in-house on equal pay, terms, and conditions to NHS staff at Barts, reports Carole Vincent

The cleaners, porters, and security staff outsourced to the multi-million-pound contractors, Serco, throughout Barts Trust hospitals, have voted overwhelmingly for strike action.

Following many protests, and attempts by Unite the Union reps to negotiate better terms and conditions, and pay parity with NHS staff doing the same jobs, the company has failed to budge.

The Serco workers receive 15% less in their pay packets than equivalent staff, they work longer hours, have worse terms and conditions, and have been afraid of speaking out for fear of losing their jobs.

Unite members have now decided to fight back, with 97.8% of the 55.7% of ballots returned voting ‘yes’ to strike action! Postcards and petitions, signed by members of the public, sent to Alwen Williams, CEO of Barts Trust during the past few months of protests, have failed to get the Trust to act.

Serco still have seventeen months of their current contract left. Any other company tendering for the work could well be as bad as Serco, so it is a demand of the workers and Unite that they are bought back in-house, as they should be. They are NHS workers on the frontline and should again be employed by the NHS with decent working conditions and pay.

The government has plenty of money for what they want, including their vanity projects, and they promised plenty for the NHS post-Brexit. Well, Boris Johnson, where is it? Cough up now! Strike action is always a last resort for workers who care deeply for their patients and colleagues, but they feel they have no alternative now.

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