Jul. 10, 2020 Fourteen trade unions that organise workers right across the National Health Service have sent joint letters to the prime minister and chancellor (finance minister) calling for quick action to agree a pay rise for all health workers. The unions argue that the public want to see health workers properly valued and rewarded and that a decent pay rise would be a step in the right direction. The unions don't want a simple COVID-19 bonus but a pay rise that will help retain and recruit staff and address the falling purchasing power of health workers who have seen pay frozen or capped below inflation over the past 10 years. The unions are also clear that all support staff should be covered as well as those employed by private contractors.
Jun. 03, 2020 Public service union UNISON reports that the Medirest private company will give its 2,200 staff, who provide cleaning, portering and catering services in NHS hospitals across England, will see their pay increase by an average of 5% from the beginning of June. The lowest pay rate will rise from £8.75 (EUR 9.80) to £9.21 (EUR 10.30) an hour, bringing it in line with the minimum rate for directly employed health workers.
Jan. 09, 2020 A long-running dispute in hospitals in North West England has been resolved with pay rises for workers employed by the outsourcing company Compass. Before the deal, Compass employees were on the national minimum wage (£8.21 per hour/EUR 9.65), while colleagues employed directly by the NHS were earning at least £9.03 (EUR 10.60). This meant Compass workers were losing out to the tune of around £1,500 (EUR 1760) a year (see EPSU CB News August 2019, 15). The agreement negotiated by UNISON and overwhelmingly supported by the workers means they’ll now receive a significant pay rise, more money for working weekends and bank holidays and an improved sick pay scheme.
Dec. 18, 2019 Strike action organised by the JHL public services union was instrumental in maintaining the collective agreement covering around 1000 employees of the cleaning and catering company Arkea, owned by the City of Turku. The company had switched to another employers' organisation so that it could sign up to a different and inferior collective agreement. This would have meant employees suffering cuts in pay of 15%-30%. After strike action by the 1000 employees at Arkea, a second strike also involving local transport workers was organised. With the threat of a third strike the company agreed to reinstate the original collective agreement.
Nov. 07, 2019 Members of the PCS civil service union are continuing their long-running campaign for union recognition at the Interserve outsourcing company which provides maintenance and cleaning services at the Foreign Office. Four further days of strike action were planned for 7, 8, 11 and 12 November. Meanwhile members of the UNISON public service union are planning two days of strike action at three hospitals run by the Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust. Around 1000 cleaners, caterers, porters, security and estates staff are threatened with outsourcing as part of a national trend in the health sector to set up wholly-owned subsidiaries. UNISON is campaigning against the initiative.
Oct. 24, 2019 The public services union UNISON has secured a major victory for around 900 outsourced security and cleaning workers at University College, London. The workers will soon see their holiday entitlement aligned with that of directly employed workers while pay, overtime, sickness and pension benefits will be brought into line by the autumn of 2021. Meanwhile the union is continuing its campaign to get better pay for outsourced workers employed by the Compass multinational at two hospitals in North West England. The minimum hourly rate for these workers is only GBP 8.21 (EUR 9.50 - the national minimum wage) while the minimum for directly employed staff is GBP 9.03 (EUR 10.50).
Oct. 09, 2019 Workers employed by the Aramark outsourcing company at the government's Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) have won their campaign to be paid a living wage. After two months of strike action the company agreed to pay a minimum of GBP 10.55 an hour (EUR 11.75) and also to improve holiday entitlement and sickness benefit. Negotiations covering other workers at BEIS employed by the ISS multinational are still underway.
Sep. 27, 2019 Central government union PCS organised a fifth week of action against outsourcing company Interserve which provides services for the Foreign Office. The core of the dispute is over union recognition. Meanwhile, the union also organised a five-day strike by cleaners employed by the ISS multinational which has a contract with the tax and revenue service (HMRC) on Merseyside in north west England.
Sep. 13, 2019 Public service unions, including Fagborbundet and the nurses' union, are hopeful that 11 privatised care homes in Oslo will be back under municipal control in the next two years as their contracts come to an end. The red/green coalition on the city council has given positive signs but the unions are concerned it may use an option to extend contracts by one or two years. The unions argue that any delay will be costly to the workers. They give the example of a care home in Uranienburg which was privatised in 2013 and then remunicipalised but workers in the home had lost out with annual salaries for most workers NOK70-80000 (EUR 7-8000) less than in the public sector.
Sep. 13, 2019 A nine-month long dispute between the PCS civil service union and contractors ISS and Aramark could be near to conclusion if details of a pay offer are confirmed. The companies provide services to the Department for Business, Energy and Industry Strategy which has indicated that the contractors may meet the union's demand to pay the London living wage of £10.55 (EUR 11.80) an hour. Meanwhile, the union is planning another five days of strike action in another long-running dispute, this time over union recognition at the contractor Interserve which provides services for the Foreign Office.
Aug. 22, 2019 Public service unions are fighting for better pay from outsourcing companies and to stop further outsourcing. Members of the PCS civil service union are continuing their long-running strike to get outsourcers Aramark and ISS to pay the living wage. They are calling on government intervention to resolve the dispute. Meanwhile health workers in Bradford in the north east are threatening an all-out strike in protest at plans to transfer them to a wholly-owned subsidiary rather than retain them as direct employees of the National Health Service.
Aug. 07, 2019 Around 300 hospital support workers, including catering, cleaning and portering staff, took strike action on 31 July in their campaign to get pay parity with National Health Service employees. The workers at three hospitals in North West England are employed by the multinational Compass and many of them are on the lowest pay 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. EPSU sent a solidarity message.
Jul. 31, 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.
Jul. 25, 2019 Outsourced workers at the Foreign Office and Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (DBEIS) are continuing to fight for better pay and at least the living wage. Workers employed by the Interserve company at the Foreign Office will be involved in talks at the conciliation service ACAS on 26 July to try to resolve their dispute over pay and recognition but their union, the PCS, has said strike action was already planned if a suitable settlement was not achieved. Meanwhile at the DBEIS, cleaners employed by ISS and catering workers employed by Aramark are on all-out strike to secure the living wage.They were joined on 22 July for a five-day strike by porters, security guards and postroom staff also employed by ISS.