South London hospital strike: “Mitie is a liar! Mitie is a thief!”

by Deji Olayinka, Lambeth and South west London Socialist Party

Cleaners and ward hosts at St Georges Hospital in Tooting went on a full week of strike action over pay and conditions. Francis Dwum, the GMB branch secretary, said the workers have three main demands:

  • An end to the two-tier workforce, one contract for all Mitie workers
  • Compensation for the members because they changed their contract without consulting them
  • An end to the pay cycle change, which forces them to work seven weeks before they get paid for four weeks’ work
Striking Mitie workers march with rail strikers to a rally
at King’s Cross. Photo: Deji Olayinka

According to Francis, this final issue is “driving their members to poverty and causing families to starve”.

One key issue in the two-tier workforce is that those on the lower grade “don’t have proper sick pay and are compelled to go to work when they are ill.”

“The Trust and Mitie are collaborating against us. But we are taking our destiny into our own hands to fight for our rights. It doesn’t matter how long it takes. We will be out here to make a noise until our voice is heard.”

And they certainly made their voices heard. In a powerful show of solidarity, the hospital workers were joined by representatives from the RMT strike, as well as other trade unions, in a march from the hospital into Tooting High Street.

The workers chanted: “Mitie is a liar! Mitie is a thief!” and “No money — no work!”

After their own rally finished, they travelled down to St Pancras station to join the RMT strike rally.