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OUTSOURCED NHS workers demanded to be brought back in-house today as they marched through central London.
Domestic and catering staff employed by contractor ISS to service four hospitals run by South London & Maudsley NHS Trust gathered in Trafalgar Square and outside Downing Street behind a large “End outsourcing” banner.
The protest, which saw workers hold up “Stop taking the *ISS” placards and chant “ISS, shame on you,” came in the middle of a six-day strike by the workers, who have accused bosses of failing to offer an improved hourly rate of pay.
The walkouts, which follow six days of industrial action earlier this year, went ahead after last week’s last-ditch talks between the GMB union and ISS management, facilitated by conciliation service Acas, broke down without agreement.
The union’s regional organiser Helen O’Connor hailed the “incredible” demo and the support from members of the public.
She tweeted: “Lots of sympathy from fellow passengers on the train to [the protest]. One woman said: ‘This government spent all of their money on their friends’.”
Campaign group Keep Our NHS Public backed the action, tweeting: “We must keep fighting to end outsourcing in our NHS.”
The trust has claimed that the workers are an “essential part of our team and we support their need to be fairly compensated for their hard work.”
A spokesperson told the Morning Star last week that ISS had agreed to its request for all staff to receive a 10 per cent wage boost in their June pay packets.
The contractor said it was “very disappointed that strike action is continuing and we are concerned about untrue and misleading allegations being made by GMB.”
The firm has “always met our obligations,” a spokesperson told the Star.
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