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‘Historic victory’ for United Voices of the World as over 1,000 hospital workers brought back in-house

Cleaners, caterers and porters employed by outsourcers Sodexo at hospitals run by Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust are to be transferred to direct employment

MORE than 1,000 London hospital workers celebrated a “historic victory” today after forcing hospital management to bring them back in-house.

Cleaners, caterers and porters employed by the Sodexo employment agency at hospitals run by Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust will be transferred to direct employment by the trust.

In a letter to workers, seen by the Morning Star,  trust chief executive Tim Orchard said that the entire workforce will now receive NHS basic pay rates, sick leave and pension schemes.

Mr Orchard said: “Each one of you plays a vital role in caring for our patients. I want you to feel properly valued and part of our wider team so that, together, we can provide the very best care for our patients.”

The transfer will begin once Sodexo’s contract ends on March 31, and will apply to workers at Charing Cross, Hammersmith, Queen Charlotte’s and Chelsea, St Mary’s and Western Eye hospitals.

The Morning Star understands that this is the biggest in-sourcing of NHS workers to date. There are hopes that it may create a domino effect of other London NHS trusts bringing their workers in house.

It also marks the end of a bitter industrial dispute between the trust and the United Voices of the World (UVW) union, which has been at the forefront of organising outsourced workers in hospitals administered by Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.

UVW lead organiser Petros Elia said: “Today marks a huge victory not just for these brave workers but for all outsourced workers in the NHS.

“Our members were told they would never win this fight, but with the full backing of UVW and mass picketing, blockades and occupations, they’ve won against all odds.

“This victory sets a historic precedent which we hope other workers will follow in demanding an end to outsourcing across the NHS.”

Loretta, a worker at the hospital who took a leading role in the campaign, said:  “We thought: ‘Why shouldn’t we be paid like all other NHS workers?’ and we kept on fighting for full equality.

"Now I won’t have to choose between paying my rent and protecting my health.”


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