Porters and domestics in 'unfair pay' calls join NHS day of action outside Sutton's Kings Mill Hospital

A Sutton hospital porter will be among healthcare workers calling for ‘equal pay and conditions’ during a peaceful protest outside Kings Mill Hospital.

By Dale Spridgeon
Friday, 2nd July 2021, 9:02 am

The Sutton dad will be joining healthcare and NHS colleagues during a protest, and is calling for parity between trust and hospital contact employees who do the same porter, domestic and catering work.

The GMB organised action falls during a national day of NHS industrial action across the country on Saturday, July 3.

Staff and healthcare workers are rallying for better pay and conditions against cuts and privatisation during action which coincides with the 73rd anniversary of the NHS.

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The protest outside Kings Mil, just opposite the reservoir, will run from 10am- 12noon.

The porter, who has eight children between him and his partner, wishes to remain anonymous.

He is objecting as an employee of Compass Group Medirest over pay differences to those doing the same job, employed by Sherwood Forest Hospitals.

“We should have equal pay for equal work, it’s very unfair,” he said.

"We get a flat rate of £9.20 an hour and 50p enhancement for night work, trust employees get a better deal with bank holiday pay, overtime and a night-time rate.

“I love my job, helping people. I joined just after the first wave of Covid finished. Us porters and the domestics, are on the front line. I even got Covid.”

Harry Harrison, regional organiser for the GMB union, said: “NHS workers are national heroes. Porters, ambulance drivers, nurses, doctors, maintenance staff and all NHS staff have kept our country safe throughout this pandemic.

“The GMB believes in urgent pay justice for all NHS workers, including those employed in our NHS organisations by private healthcare providers. We’re campaigning for the rights of these porters and domestics at Sherwood Forest Hospitals and pushing to bring them in line with NHS terms and conditions.”

A spokesperson for Sherwood Forest Hospitals said: "For some job roles, such as portering, we have colleagues performing the same role, but with different employers.

"This situation historically dates back to the establishment of the PFI agreement for Sherwood Forest Hospitals – colleagues who were in these roles at the time continued to be employed by the NHS, while those newly employed since that date are employed directly by Medirest, responsible for agreeing those terms and conditions.

"As of June last year, the basic rates of pay for Medirest colleagues were aligned with the standard NHS ‘Agenda for Change’ rates. We value the vital jobs that these colleagues perform individually and as teams, and strive to ensure they feel a part of the wider organisation.

"We work closely with Medirest as part of our contract with them to ensure we are as consistent as possible in working conditions and experience, although the overall responsibility of employment lies with Medirest.”

Mansfield health workers and supporters were out in force in the town centre last weekend calling for backing in the NHS national day of protest.

Nottinghamshire's role in the national day takes place in Nottingham’s Market Square on Saturday, starting at 11.30am and features a rally to the Forest Recreation Ground.

Mansfield Socialist Party is also holding a public meeting called Build the Campaign to Save the NHS on Wednesday, July 7 at 7.30pm.

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