Catering staff walk out on strike at Doncaster Royal Infirmary

Catering staff at Doncaster Royal Infirmary have walked out on strike in a row over pay.

Over 70 Sodexo workers at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals NHS Trust walked out on the first day 12 planned days of strikes in May on Wednesday.

Striking UNISON members at Doncaster Royal Infirmary.

Striking UNISON members at Doncaster Royal Infirmary.

The staff – who voted 100 per cent in favour of industrial action last month – are mostly low paid women who provide catering and retail services across the trust.

Formerly NHS workers, they were transferred to private firm Sodexo in January 2018 who have so far refused to pay the three year NHS pay deal – costing them thousands.

Members of the union UNISON will be taking action on May 1st/2nd/3rd, 7th/8th/9th, 15th/16th/17th and 20th/21st/22nd.

They have called on colleagues in the Trust to bring 'Sarnies for Solidarity' on strike days to show their support for their campaign for fair pay.

A spokesman for Unison Doncaster Bassetlaw Health said: “We had a hugely successful first day. There was overwhelming support from the staff and public.

“Sodexo staff have been operating a cheerful, lively and law abiding picket with plenty of flag waving and singing.

“This will be repeated for three days per week throughout the rest of May. Social media is humming with it.”

During the strike a hot lunch is available to all patients while the evening meal consists of cold choices for patients selecting from the standard menu.

All patients requiring any special diets will not have menu disruptions.

A spokesman for Sodexo: “As part of the 2018 Agenda for Change pay deal, the Department of Health agreed to centrally fund new pay rates for NHS employees in England.

“However, this funding has not been extended to include those employed by private contractors, such as Sodexo.

“We support the trade union’s position of lobbying the Government for central funding but are also continuing to work together with the Trust to reach a positive resolution as soon as possible.“

A spokesman for Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals said they hoped Sodexo and Unison would be able to reach a resolution ‘as soon as possible'.

He said: “In the coming days and weeks it will be our priority to work with both Sodexo and our union colleagues to minimise any disruption to our patients.”