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Strike averted as GOSH agrees to give hundreds of cleaners full NHS contracts

United Voices of the World (UVW) has announced that a two-day strike, which had been due to take place at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH), has been averted. Last minute concessions by bosses at GOSH mean hundreds of cleaners, who were in-housed last summer, will now be given full NHS contracts from 1 April 2022.

Before this announcement, the hospital failed to afford the cleaners the full range of Agenda for Change (Afc) Terms and Conditions (T&Cs) NHS employees are entitled to and that other GOSH staff receive. UVW says the hospital had been giving the cleaners improved conditions in dribs and drabs but key terms such as overtime and unsociable working hours pay remained unaligned with the rest of their colleagues. For the low-paid workers, who regularly work overnight, evening and weekend shifts, the lack of enhanced pay meant thousands of pounds less per year compared to other hospital workers.

Security guards at the hospital, who are currently taking six weeks of strike action, are now the only workers on site who are outsourced and not on full NHS contracts.

The hospital threatened the cleaner’s union UVW with yet another injunction when served with the notice of the upcoming strike. But in a turnaround, following frantic meetings to avoid hundreds of cleaners walking out of their jobs, the hospital agreed to speed up the promised harmonisation of the T&Cs and the threat of injunction dissolved.

A group of a GOSH cleaners and UVW members are also currently suing the hospital for alleged indirect race discrimination during the years they were outsourced on inferior contracts.

Petros Elia, General Secretary for UVW said: “This news marks yet another massive UVW win at GOSH which has come about because our members rightly threatened to strike on 17th March if GOSH delayed treating them as equals any longer. It says all you need to know about GOSH, and their CEO Matthew Shaw, that it takes the threat of a strike for them to do the right thing. We expect them now to do the right thing in respect of their security guards who have been on strike for weeks now and still only get Statutory Sick Pay. Our members will never tolerate being treated second class by GOSH or any employer, and we will fight for as long as it takes and with everything it takes until dignity and equality are guaranteed.”

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