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Sodexo under pressure as workers plan action in pay row

Staff at three hospitals in London and two in the north of England employed by French multi-national catering and FM services provider, Sodexo, are planning a series of strikes over pay.


In London, porters, cleaners and domestic staff at St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, Hammersmith Hospital in Shepherds Bush and Charing Cross Hospital in Fulham, say they have had enough of minimum wage pay when other workers receive the London Living Wage. 


The protests are scheduled to take place tomorrow (April 30) at the three sites, all of which are part of the Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, where 1,100 Sodexo staff work. They are being arranged by the GMB workers union.


The GMB’s Michael Dooley says: “We have met with Sodexo bosses and Sodexo have said that they will not pay an increase, we have arranged to speak with them again, but in the meantime we will continue our protests. We have not ruled out strike action but many of our members do not want to disrupt the patient’s routine so they will protest for now to show the hospital Trust, the public and their employer that they are not sitting back and accepting poverty pay when other workers get the London Living Wage.”


Meanwhile, staff at Doncaster Royal Infirmary and Bassetlaw Hospital have voted to strike in protest that Sodexo is refusing to give them the pay rise agreed last year for NHS staff. Catering workers who are members of GMB will walk out on May 1, 2 and 3, whilst UNISON says its members at the two hospitals will hold their first day of strike action on May 1, with 11 further dates to follow throughout the month. 


The BBC quotes a spokesperson for Sodexo saying: “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.”


The spokesperson added Sodexo’s support for UNISON lobbying the government for central funding, saying: “If successful, we guarantee to pass that funding on to our employees.”