Ealing Hospital workers employed by Compass Medirest which supplies cleaning, catering and other services to the healthcare market, demonstrated last Wednesday (12) and Thursday (13) from 6am to 6pm.

Staff who took action included domestic, catering, porters and help desk workers, on a national minimum rate of £6.31 which is 44 per cent below the lowest comparable NHS rate in London of £9.09 per hour.

Comparable NHS rates range from £7.33 to £8.34 per hour plus London Weighting of £1.76 per hour. Those taken on by Medirest are therefore offered lower terms and conditions than comparable NHS staff.

They want an increase in pay as a step towards a London living wage of £8.80 per hour, as well as two more days of annual leave and sick pay for one week full pay and three weeks half wage.

Currently members get no sick pay.

 

Stella George-Duesbury, GMB Regional Organiser, said “GMB members cannot live on a national minimum wage of £6.31 per hour and these vital NHS workers want an end to a two tier workforce. These claims were submitted over a year ago. The employer was made fully aware throughout that GMB would ballot members for strike action unless there was substantial progress towards a living wage. There has been no progress whatsoever in talks.

“After the two days of strike action should the employer not make progress to a living wage and an end to a two tier workforce, further strike action will be planned.”

A ballot on strike action closed on February 4 and more than 98 per cent voted in favour of striking.

A Medirest spokesperson said: “We are aware of this strike by a number of our Medirest employees and take such matters very seriously. We have met with the GMB and remain committed to having an open and constructive dialogue with all parties involved.”