Barts NHS workers strike back

  • For a 15% pay rise for all
  • Bring back outsourced services

‘Why we’re striking’

by Unite Shop Steward Barts Health Trust

Nearly 600 health workers employed at Bart’s health trust across three hospitals — Royal London, Whipps Cross and St Barts — are striking for fair pay, and against increasing workloads and bullying.

Barts NHS Trust Workers striking for decent pay.
Barts NHS Trust workers striking for decent pay:
Photo: Paul Mattsson

Following a massive 97% vote for action the workers, member of Unite the Union, are walking out for two weeks from 31 January to 13 February.

They provide essential services as cleaners, porters, patient food catering workers, reception staff, and security guards.

Picket lines will take place every day at each hospital with rallies taking place at midday at the Royal London on 31 January, Barts hospital on 2 February and at Whipps Cross on 4 February.

Employed by private company Serco, the workers’ pay claim for 15% reflects the pay gap between these outsourced workers and those directly employed by the NHS doing the same jobs. The threat of strike action alone has forced the bosses to raise their derisory 1% pay offer to 3%, but this has also been rejected, especially given that RPI inflation has just jumped to 7.5%.

A porter told the Socialist: “We haven’t got smaller shopping bills or rents than workers employed directly by the NHS doing the same jobs. It simply is unfair and that’s why we have to take action.”

Serco has made huge profits from the failed test-and-trace debacle and had a turnover of £3.9 billion according to the latest figures available.

The company has given the NHS Trust 18 months’ notice that it will be ending the contract in April 2023.

We also demand that the trust board bring these workers and services back in-house as soon as possible.

Barts bosses, having privatised these services, bear responsibility for the situation that has developed. They must now intervene to ensure the union’s pay claim is met in full.

Also, that the years of outsourcing are ended and that the workers are given full NHS pay, terms and conditions.