Outsourced cleaners at University Hospital Lewisham face ongoing pay discrepancies

Image credit: GMB

NHS cleaners working for outsourced services provider ISS at University Hospital lewisham, who are represented by trade union GMB, have reported that recent pay errors made by the organisation have not been rectified.

In February 2020, a number of NHS cleaners found that their pay was incorrect for the month. ISS subsequently promised that it would rectify the situation, but many individuals reported that their March payslips continued to be incorrect.

At a protest outside the hospital on 13 March 2020, cleaning staff demanded that ISS should correct the errors today (16 March 2020); however, Nick Clarke, director at ISS, has stated that it will take a further week to rectify the situation.

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Helen O’Connor, organiser at GMB, said: “Our members are in dire financial straights as ISS [continues] to drag [its] heels to sort out the pay crisis in Lewisham Hospital.

“Their loyal workers turned up to work today to clean the hospital and make sure the patients are safe. But what they are getting back from ISS is threats and broken promises.

“The behaviour of the ISS top brass is incredible given these jobs are vital to the hospital in normal circumstances, but in the present climate the work they do is utterly fundamental.

“This government has promised hospitals will have everything they need to deal with Coronavirus, but Lewisham Hospital will not even have cleaners if this pay fiasco continues. It must be a fundamental right to be paid for the work you do.

“GMB Union is calling on Lewisham and Greenwich NHS to bring this vital service back in house and put the cleaners on NHS pay terms and conditions.”

Chris Ash, managing director of healthcare at ISS, said: “You may have seen media coverage about some of the cleaning and soft facilities management staff at University Hospital Lewisham not being paid in full this month due to an administrative error. We have apologised to these staff and taken urgent steps to resolve this issue, making immediate additional emergency payments where there were shortfalls.

“It is important to note that the issue has not affected the service we provide: we continue to maintain high standards of hygiene at the hospital, with cleaning, portering and catering services provided as normal to patients, staff and visitors.

“The error with pay affected a limited number of the staff who moved to a new pay system, after we took over the contract for these services from the previous provider last month. We are extremely sorry that this happened and are reaching out to those staff to apologise in person, and to quickly sort out any pay issues they have.”