A thousand low-paid porters, cleaners and catering staff at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust in London are today (Thursday) celebrating after winning the right to be directly managed by the NHS, says UNISON.
From 1 April the staff – who work in the trust’s five hospitals across the capital – will no longer be employed by private contractor Sodexo. The company has held the contract since 2015.
As part of the transfer back to the NHS, staff from Sodexo will see their pay, overtime, pensions and sickness allowances brought in line with other health service workers, ending years of unfair treatment, says the union.
Employees’ pay will increase from £10.55 to £11.28 an hour and they’ll get sick pay from the first day they’re ill. Workers will also be able to join the NHS pension scheme, which was previously unavailable to them as Sodexo staff.
UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said: “This is a victory for fairness and common sense.
“Thousands of workers and their families will be able to sleep a little easier, knowing they’ll be paid more fairly and treated more humanely when they are back in the NHS.
“Managers at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust have sensibly put an end to a system that forces staff to watch colleagues doing similar jobs get better pay, more leave and more generous pensions.”
UNISON Greater London regional organiser Debbie Eakins said: “Bringing the staff in-house is a major step towards ending inequality and unfairness.
“That such a major trust has accepted our arguments and put staff and patient welfare first is a major breakthrough.
“UNISON will continue to work with trust managers to make the case for bringing all outsourced staff back into the NHS as soon as possible.”
Notes to editors
– Hospital managed by the trust include: Charing Cross, Hammersmith, St Mary’s, Queen Charlotte’s and Chelsea, Western Eye.
– UNISON is the UK’s largest union, with more than 1.3 million members providing public services – in education, local government, the NHS, police service and energy. They are employed in both the public and private sectors.
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