Porters, cleaners and domestic staff employed by multinational facilities management organisation Sodexo, and who are members of the trade union GMB, are conducting a protest across three London-based hospitals today (Tuesday 30 April 2019) in a dispute over pay.
The protests are due to take place at St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington and Hammersmith Hospital (pictured) in Shepherds Bush between 12.00pm and 2.00pm, as well as at Charing Cross Hospital in Fulham between 3.00pm and 5.00pm.
Today’s protests are taking place as a precursor to potential formal strike action, according to GMB. Sodexo staff working at these hospitals are arguing that they should be paid more than the minimum wage for the jobs they perform.
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The action will include placards, flags and banners, as well as a giant inflatable rat, which will be situated at Hammersmith Hospital.
Michael Dooley, spokesperson at GMB, said: “We have met with Sodexo bosses and Sodexo have said that they will not pay an increase. We have arranged to speak with them again but in the meantime, we will continue our protests.
“We have not ruled out strike action, but many of our members do not want to disrupt the patients’ routine, so they will protest for now to show the hospital trust, the public and their employer that they are not sitting back and accepting poverty pay when other [staff] get the London living wage.”
“The staff in the NHS should be properly rewarded for their labour; this includes the staff who have been contracted out [and] who undertake the work that keeps the hospital running and patients comfortable and safe.”
A spokesperson for Sodexo said: “As part of the 2018 Agenda for Change pay deal, the Department of Health agreed to centrally fund new pay rates for NHS employees in England. However, this funding has not been extended to include those employed by private contractors, such as Sodexo. We support the trade union’s position of lobbying the Government for central funding and, if successful, we guarantee to pass that funding on to our employees.”