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Hospital cleaners down tools in pay dispute
Cleaners, porters and catering staff have been staging a protest outside Lewisham hospital this week, claiming that ISS had reneged on promises to pay them wages owed; promises made as a result of the cleaners having previously downed tools over missing pay.
When GMB Union learnt of the crisis, representatives met with ISS director Nick Clarke, who suggested it could take up to another week to sort out the pay issue and who said that no managers had been affected by the pay crisis.
GMB claims ISS has denied workers any form of compensation for the crisis and “to add insult to injury” has threatened to withhold the promise of the London living wage being paid with full back pay in April if workers attended the protest.
"Our members are in dire financial straits as ISS continues to drag its heels to sort out the pay crisis in Lewisham hospital,” said Helen O'Connor, GMB Organiser. "For many of these workers missing just one pay cheque means not being able to pay the rent, or put food on their families' tables.
"They are at the end of their tether following weeks of their pay being short - now today they get no pay at all. These loyal workers turned up to work to clean the hospital and make sure the patients are safe. But what they are getting back from ISS is threats and broken promises.
"This could not have happened at a worse time - we are facing a coronavirus pandemic and infected patients are now being admitted into the hospital. Meanwhile the people who are meant to be keeping the hospital clean and safe are not getting paid.
"The behaviour of the ISS top brass is incredible given that these jobs are vital to the hospital in normal circumstances, but in the present climate the work they do is utterly fundamental.
"This Government has promised that hospitals will have everything they need to deal with coronavirus - but Lewisham Hospital will not even have cleaners if this pay fiasco continues. It must be a fundamental right to be paid for the work you do.
"GMB Union is calling on Lewisham and Greenwich NHS to bring this vital service back in house and put the cleaners on NHS pay terms and conditions."
19th March 2020