Hospital catering workers strike on May Day

Outsourced Doncaster and Bassetlaw hospital members plan 11 days of strikes in May to win health service pay rise

UNISON members in south Yorkshire are marking May Day with a strike for fair pay today – the first of 11 strike days they have planned throughout the month.

The members taking action are around 70 catering staff at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals trust. They were transferred to a private company – facilities management giant Sodexo – in 2017 and are striking against the company’s refusal to pay the Agenda for Change pay rise agreed last year for health staff employed by the NHS.

“Doncaster workers are striking as a last resort because Sodexo has refused to honour the national agreement,” said union regional organiser Sue Cookman.

“The company plans to bring in other staff to cover the strike days, using funds which would be put to better use simply paying these catering workers fairly.”

UNISON’s head of health Sara Gorton pointed out that many health workers employed by private contractors are paid “significantly less than the colleagues they work alongside”.

She called on ministers to find the money “to give these hardworking outsourced staff a long-overdue pay rise and ensure the NHS has enough staff to run its services well”.