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Union protests at Brighton hospital as row over wages continues
A union is calling on hospital bosses to intervene in a row over wages for low-paid staff.
Members of the GMB staged a demonstration outside the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton after members were left without proper pay for the fourth week running.
Sodexo took over the contract for providing cleaning, catering and portering services at Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust at the beginning of December.
However, workers say they have either not been paid for their full hours or only received basic pay, leaving many struggling to cope.
GMB solicitors were also at the hospital yesterday to speak to members and seek their authority to lodge employment tribunal claims on their behalf.
GMB regional organiser Gary Palmer said: “This situation cannot be allowed to continue.
“Our members are among the lowest paid staff and cannot absorb these types of losses each week.
“What we are asking for is quite simple. We want our members, who come in each day and do their job, to be paid the correct wages.”
In a letter to hospital trust chief executive Chris Adcock, the GMB called on him to intervene and take control of the matter to ensure Sodexo resolve the situation.
One Sodexo worker told The Argus: “For the last couple of weeks I have not been given my full pay.
“Last week I had to queue up to get the rest of the money I was owed and it has caused a lot of problems and stress.
“It was particularly difficult because it was Christmas and New Year. We’ve all got bills coming in and I need to know I am getting the right money.”
In a separate dispute with |the company, the GMB is also holding a ballot of its 300 members who work for Sodexo on industrial action.
It follows a decision by Sodexo to consult staff over changes to working conditions that could lead to possible redundancies.
A spokesman for Sodexo said: “We remain committed to resolving any pay issues as quickly as possible through our on-site payroll clinic and are communicating directly with our employees to keep them informed.
“We have made cash and BACs payments available at all times and have made immediate payments based on individual preferences. The vast majority of contracted employees were paid for their contracted hours since the mobilisation of our services and we are now confident that all contracted employees are receiving payment for their contracted hours.
“Pay issues mainly relate to enhanced payments or overtime, which are a result of system and data errors.”
A spokesman for Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals said: “We are monitoring the situation very closely and are in extremely regular contact with Sodexo, who assure us that they are talking directly to the affected staff and working to rectify any pay issues as quickly as they can.”
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