NHS workers in Doncaster and Bassetlaw vote to take industrial action
Around 70 NHS catering staff at Doncaster and Bassetlaw NHS Foundation Trust have voted overwhelmingly to take industrial action over pay.
The staff, predominantly women, are angry that they will not receive a nationally agreed pay award for NHS staff.
Their jobs were transferred to a private company, Sodexo in January 2017 and the company is refusing to pay the award – costing them around £1,000 a year.
Sue Cookman, regional organiser for the union UNISON, said: “Striking is always a last resort, but our members have been left with no alternative as Sodexo have refused to honour their agreement and negotiate with us locally.
“Sodexo has already agreed to pay the award to workers in other parts of the country our members are standing up for their rights and for members elsewhere in the country.
“These members, who earn between £17,000 – 18,000 a year – have been forced to a ballot because the company simply refuses to speak to us constructively
“We raised this issue 8 months ago with Sodexo but there has been no movement to resolve the issue.
“This is a company that last year made almost £1 billion in profits yet they refuse to meet their basic responsibilities to staff.
“UNISON has also raised this with the government, urging them to put pressure on the company to pay the nationally agreed pay award.”
A spokesperson for Sodexo said: “As part of the 2018 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.
Any additional funding that we receive from the contract is being passed on to our team members. We have received an inflationary increase to the contract of 2.2% which is linked to consumer price index inflation (CPI) and we are passing this pay increase on to the team from April 2019.
Should the Trust agree additional funding for Agenda for Change, Sodexo will pass this increase on to our team members.”
A spokesperson at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals said: “We hope that Sodexo and UNISON are able to reach a resolution as soon as possible. In the coming days and weeks we will be working with both to minimise any disruption to our patients.”