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Industrial Outsourced Barts hospital staff protest for pay justice

SCORES of outsourced staff working at Barts hospital protested for pay justice today.

More than 60 Unite members, who are employed by outsourcing firm Serco, protested outside the board meeting of the hospital’s trust to demand that the hospital and its contractors fund a pay rise which is equal to that for workers directly employed by the NHS.

Thousands of workers with NHS contracts have been offered a pay rise of approximately £2,000 a year. The 1,600 staff currently employed by Serco at Barts want this same pay increase — a jump from the London Living Wage of £10.20 an hour to £10.83 an hour.

Last summer, Barts Health NHS Trust hospital cleaners launched one of the largest strikes in NHS history for a real pay rise, ending in a compromise agreement.

As a public service outsourcing company, Serco has a wide portfolio across London’s patient catering and cleaning services and in various hospitals, including Barts and Mile End.

Unite regional officer Ruth Hydon said that it is an “injustice” that Serco workers are being paid less than NHS workers performing the same line of work.

“It’s time to end poverty pay for NHS workers employed by private contractors.

“Serco workers should get the same increase as their colleagues to help pay for the high cost of housing and transport in London. They are demanding pay justice.”

A Serco spokesman said that it is still committed to pay at least the London Living Wage for cleaners, as agreed between the trust and the unions.

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