Cleaners and hostesses at Beckenham hospital to strike over pay and working hours

PUBLISHED: 14:22 07 March 2016 | UPDATED: 14:52 08 March 2016

Bethlem Hopsital in Beckenham

Bethlem Hopsital in Beckenham


Staff at the Bethlem Royal Hospital voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action

GMB members outside Bethlem RoyalGMB members outside Bethlem Royal

Cleaners and hostesses working at the Bethlem Royal Hospital in Beckenham have voted in favour of taking strike action to win a genuine living wage, suitable sick pay, and unsocial hours payments.

Many of the staff who keep the hospital site clean and prepare and serve food to the patients are paid as little as £7.38 per hour, and receive 10 days of sick pay per year.

This is not paid in the first year of service or for the first three days of sickness.

Now, 175 members of the GMB union, working for private contractor Aramark at South London and Maudsley (SLAM) NHS Trust’s four hospitals, have voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action.

GMB members outside Bethlem RoyalGMB members outside Bethlem Royal

Nadine Houghton, GMB regional organiser, said: “By voting in favour of strike action, our members have shown that they are serious about fighting for something that any worker should be entitled to: a wage they can live on and a sick pay scheme which ensures they won’t be forced into poverty as a result of falling ill.

“Aramark make a profit by paying workers as little as possible.

“GMB members in SLAM are now saying enough is enough and that they should be rewarded properly for the work they do.

“We will be meeting our members to discuss a somewhat revised pay offer from Aramark and to ask them to confirm whether strike action is still the appropriate next step towards fair conditions for Aramark workers.

“Aramark is a $14.3bn, American owned, multinational outsourcing provider.

“They can afford to pay their staff a proper wage.”

An Aramark spokesperson said in response: “We believe a fair and comprehensive offer has been made.

“It is disappointing that GMB representatives have chosen to reject it, but we remain hopeful that a mutually agreeable resolution can be reached.”

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