Hundreds of London hospital workers to stage further 25 days of strikes over Serco's low pay

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Hundreds of cleaners, porters and security guards at four London hospitals are to step up industrial action over pay by striking for 25 days in the coming weeks.

Unite members at Barts Health NHS Trust, employed by Serco, will walk out on Friday August 18 until Monday August 21, and then from Friday to Monday every week until September 18.

The workers, who are insisting on a 30p wage increase to keep pace with the increasing costs of living in the capital, have been taking strike action for weeks, with the latest stoppage ending on Monday. Talks are due to be held on Friday.

Unite regional officer Ruth Hydon said: “Hundreds of low-paid workers vital to maintaining a clean and safe health service are fighting for fair pay and dignity at work.

“They have already taken 23 days of strike action and are preparing for 25 more days of action during August and September.

Striking staff from Barts hospital protest outside shareholder meeting

“Serco has an opportunity to end this dispute at England’s largest health trust by offering a fair pay offer at talks this Friday.

“The strikes have been solidly supported and it’s quite clear that Unite members remain determined and focused.

“At recent talks Serco offered a measly £2 extra a week when workers are calling for an extra 30 pence an hour.

“After years of pay deals which have meant pay cuts in real terms they deserve better.

“We urge Serco to get serious and address the scourge of low pay affecting the workforce who keep our hospitals safe and clean”

The industrial action affects Whipps Cross University Hospital, Royal London Hospital, St Bartholomew’s Hospital and Mile End Hospital.

Phil Mitchell, Serco contract director, said: “In agreement with the Trust, we guaranteed to pay our staff at least the London Living Wage of £9.75 an hour from day one of our contract, which has resulted in an average increase in pay of 3.5% for over 140 permanent staff.

“For those staff on higher salaries, we have protected their terms and conditions and offered a pay increase for this year which is in line with other NHS colleagues.

“Our absolute priority during the strike has been to continue ensuring a safe, clean and caring environment for patients.

“Feedback from the Trust on how we have maintained services and patient safety has been positive and we have robust plans in place to ensure we can continue to support the Trust’s hospitals to operate as normal should Unite’s next planned action go ahead.”

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