Hospital workers to march on Downing Street for better terms

Cleaners and caterers across South London and Maudsley NHS Trust are taking a week of strike action as they escalate their dispute.

The workers, members of the GMB trades union and employees of ISS, are also planning to march on Downing Street.

South London and Maudsley, or SLaM, is a grouping of NHS psychiatric centres based at the Bethlem Royal Hospital on Monks Orchard Road in Beckenham, Lambeth Hospital, Maudsley Hospital, the Ladywell Unit at Lewisham Hospital, as well as more than 100 community sites.

The union members will be taking seven days of consecutive action, starting on Saturday, June 24, with the Downing Street march on Wednesday, June 28, with a demand to end all NHS outsourcing as well as highlight the members’ own dispute over pay, terms and conditions.

No cleaners: the Bethlem Royal Hospital will be without support staff next week

Helen O’Connor, the GMB’s regional organiser, said: “It is always difficult for the lowest paid workers in the economy to go out on strike and lose pay but these workers have been so ground down by ISS that they have no choice.

“They have suffered withheld pay rises, bullying and harassment, impossible workloads and now the jobs and hours of the Lambeth employees are on the line as the hospital there is being shut for good.

“The cleaning and catering provision was badly affected by the last round of strike action, a fact which has finally been acknowledged by the company as talks are now scheduled between GMB and ISS.

“We are clear that talks alone won’t keep the wolf from the door and our members will not call off any strike without a firm offer on the table.

“Perhaps Rishi Sunak might take notice of our members’ campaign as we march to his front door, as a phone call from senior government officials could end this dispute in an instant.”

The members have already taken six days of strike action in the dispute. During the last wave of strikes, more than 200 marched on ISS’s offices in Canary Wharf.

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