Union protests at Brighton hospital as row over wages continues

The Argus: Workers protesting outside Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton Buy this photo » Workers protesting outside Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton

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.

Changing conditions

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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Comments (5)

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9:43am Tue 8 Jan 13

Jetsamandflotsam says...

What is the point of having a video of somebody speaking without any audio?
What is the point of having a video of somebody speaking without any audio? Jetsamandflotsam

10:16am Tue 8 Jan 13

Sarah Booker Lewis says...

Jetsamandflotsam wrote:
What is the point of having a video of somebody speaking without any audio?
There was audio. I'll find out what's gone wrong.
[quote][p][bold]Jetsamandflotsam[/bold] wrote: What is the point of having a video of somebody speaking without any audio?[/p][/quote]There was audio. I'll find out what's gone wrong. Sarah Booker Lewis

10:52am Tue 8 Jan 13

Sarah Booker Lewis says...

The video is uploading again and will be online shortly.
The video is uploading again and will be online shortly. Sarah Booker Lewis

11:19am Tue 8 Jan 13

MuammarQaddafi says...

Not a sign of a financially healthy company when it starts withholding employees' wages!
Not a sign of a financially healthy company when it starts withholding employees' wages! MuammarQaddafi

12:27pm Tue 8 Jan 13

wexler53 says...

I can understand why Sodexo wants to review work and staffing levels. I had to be at the hospital for an extended period last week and happened to see a member of staff looking after the cleaning of a particular area. It was obvious that they had far too much time to carry out the allocated tasks. Even taking extended breaks to talk on the phone, or with colleagues, these people had to work hard at not working. It's obvious that a significant culture change is needed. The NHS as funded by the taxpayer should not be a cash cow for it's contracted or subcontracted staff. I wasn't that impressed by the medical care either, which was lacklustre and delivered in a very off hand manner.
I can understand why Sodexo wants to review work and staffing levels. I had to be at the hospital for an extended period last week and happened to see a member of staff looking after the cleaning of a particular area. It was obvious that they had far too much time to carry out the allocated tasks. Even taking extended breaks to talk on the phone, or with colleagues, these people had to work hard at not working. It's obvious that a significant culture change is needed. The NHS as funded by the taxpayer should not be a cash cow for it's contracted or subcontracted staff. I wasn't that impressed by the medical care either, which was lacklustre and delivered in a very off hand manner. wexler53

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