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The News Line: News Hospital workers – week strike begins
Two hundred Serco workers at Bart’s NHS Trust outside the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel last week – they begin their week-long strike today
A WEEK-LONG strike across four London hospitals begins this morning as hundreds of low paid cleaners, porters and security guards working for private company SERCO walk out from 5.30am as the battle against low pay escalates.


The week long strike follows a solid three-day strike last week at Barts Health NHS Trust. The strikes are taking place at Mile End, Whipps Cross, Bart’s and the Royal London hospitals. The three-day strike which began on 4 July has already caused considerable disruption to domestic services across the four London hospitals and the union has squarely laid the blame on SERCO for refusing to enter into meaningful talks.

The workers have warned the employer that they will stage a 14 day stoppage starting on 25 July with further strike action planned for August and September. Unite national officer, Colenzo Jarret-Thorpe said: ‘Low paid workers who keep our hospitals clean, safe and running smoothly are not prepared to get poorer while the multimillion pound privateer Serco rakes in millions.

‘Unite members working for SERCO at Barts are refusing to accept 1 per cent  after seeing their real living standards drop year on year. Last week’s industrial action was solidly supported and they are determined to get a decent pay increase of an extra 30p per hour.

‘Workers regularly report getting home late, tired and sore from the intense workload heaped on them by SERCO – they deserve better treatment and better pay. We urge SERCO to get around the negotiating table and resolve this dispute.’

SERCO won the £600 million soft services contract for Barts Health NHS Trust last year. The company made a profit of £82 million, and pays its chief executive over £1 million a year. Unite members employed by SERCO as domestic staff, porters and security workers at Barts Health NHS Trust want a 30p per hour wage increase but the claim has been rejected by SERCO.

Workers also called for a strike ballot because porters at Whipps Cross Hospital are up in arms over SERCO’s plans to cut jobs, and to make matters worse SERCO has also increased workloads to unsustainable levels for cleaners across the Trust.
 
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