Sick pay victory for cleaning, catering and security staff at Homerton University Hospital Foundation Trust

Thursday 30 July 2020
For immediate release ​

Sick pay victory for cleaning, catering and security staff at Homerton University Hospital Foundation Trust

A long-running UNISON campaign at Homerton Hospital has secured full NHS sickness pay for low-paid outsourced staff.

Cleaners, caterers, security staff and porters employed by private company ISS Mediclean currently receive lower wages, sickness pay and holiday entitlement than directly employed NHS staff doing similar jobs, says UNISON.

But following negotiations with the union, a new contract between ISS and the trust will be signed in October that will ensure staff receive full NHS sick pay entitlements of six-months on full pay and six-months on half pay. At the moment, ISS staff only receive statutory sick pay of £95.85 a week.

Almost four out of five (77%) ISS workers are from BAME communities, so are at greater risk from Covid-19 than the general population.

Being able to take time off when ill without worrying about paying bills or putting food on the table could save lives, UNISON says.

As part of the UNISON-brokered deal, the trust will assess the impact of bringing services back in-house and hopefully end outsourcing once and for all, says the union.

UNISON Homerton co-branch secretary Naomi Bryon said: “This is a huge relief for staff to win occupational sick pay and it’s thanks to all the staff who stood together and fought so hard for our rights that we have won this major victory.”

UNISON Greater London regional organiser Carol Shorter said: “These workers have been on the frontline of the fight against Covid-19 and deserve to be treated fairly and with respect.

“Statutory sick pay is poverty pay and we’re pleased to see the back of it at Homerton hospital.

“This is a fantastic victory for staff who’ve fought hard against the inequalities of the two-tier workforce in the NHS. It’s indefensible that privately employed staff doing similar roles as NHS employees are paid less and receive inferior holiday allowances, pensions and sick pay.

“UNISON will continue to campaign for an end to outsourcing and for the fair treatment of all staff.”

Notes to editors:
– In May Homerton University Hospital Foundation Trust announced that it would sign a new contract with ISS in October 2020. Although ISS is the employer, enhancements to terms and conditions of outsourced staff are typically covered by the client – in this case, Homerton University Hospital Foundation Trust.
– 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 the public, voluntary and private sectors.

Media contact:
Emma Davey M: 07432 733187  E: