(31 July 2019) EPSU sent a solidarity message today to hundreds of health workers on strike in three hospitals in North West England. The workers – cleaners, porters, catering and security staff – are employed by the multinational Compass and want their pay and conditions to match those of the directly-employed National Health Service (NHS) workers whom they work alongside.
Most of the outsourced workers are paid the minimum rate of £8.21 (€8.95) an hour which is £0.82 (€0.90) less than the £9.03 (€9.85) minimum for NHS workers. This amounts to an annual difference of £1600 (€1740) for a full-time employee. The workers are also claiming additional payments for weekend working and to sick pay. Currently they get no night or shift work allowances.
Compass workers at the Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital were also due to strike today but Compass agreed to meet their demands.
UNISON has been supporting action by outsourced health worker across the country fighting for pay parity with NHS workers. It has also called on the government to ensure that there is funding for the NHS to guarantee that outsourced workers get at least the £9.03 minimum rate that applies to NHS employees.
UNISON North West region website has more on the action.