(5 August) UK public service union UNISON has launched a campaign to bring all outsourced workers at four hospitals in Liverpool back in-house.
Hundreds of cleaners, caterers and security guards who work at the Aintree University, Royal Liverpool University, Liverpool Women’s and Broadgreen Hospitals are employed by private companies – Compass, Medirest, ISS and OCS.
UNISON says that these workers are on lower pay and worse terms and conditions than employees directly employed by the National Health Service.
UNISON Liverpool Hospitals Health branch secretary Su Edwards said: “Our members do some of the most vital jobs within our health service. They cook patients’ food, keep the hospital clean and protect patients and staff. Yet currently, these health service heroes are being treated like second class citizens.”
She added: “But it’s not just hospital staff who are getting a raw deal. Compass, ISS and OCS prioritise profit over people- they bid for NHS contracts, then they cut costs and patients pay the price. If we brought these services in-house, we could deliver a higher quality service, with more staff on shift, better hospital food and safer hospitals.”
UNISON launched their campaign on Monday 3 August with both outsourced workers and NHS staff joining lunchtime protests at three sites.
An unnamed Aintree Hospital worker employed by ISS said: “Like all of our health service colleagues, we’ve put ourselves at increased risk over the last few months keeping patients safe. We don’t want a medal, we just want to be treated equally with our colleagues who are employed by NHS. We deserve proper pay and working conditions so that we can deliver a high quality service for Liverpool patients.”
UNISON has written to the chief executives of the two NHS Trusts that run the four hospitals, calling on them to bring all outsourced services back within the health service. The union has also written to local MPs, the city Mayor and the Mayor of Liverpool City Region to ask for their support.