OCS workers secure major victory after 26 days of strike action

The outsourced workers have won a pay rise of over 14%, an extra week’s leave and the same sick pay as their directly-employed NHS colleagues

Five UNISON members on an OCS picket line, with UNISON flags and banner reading: 'Claps don't pay the bills – key workers demand fair pay'.

UNISON members at Lancashire and South Cumbria Foundation Trust have secured a major victory after taking 26 days of strike action over four months.

In a new deal, announced last week, the workers – who are outsourced to private healthcare facilities firm OCS – have won a pay rise of over 14%, an extra week of annual leave and the same sick pay as their colleagues who work directly for the NHS trust.

The 50 workers include porters, catering staff and cleaners at hospitals, mental health units and clinics in Blackburn, Blackpool, Ormskirk, and Preston.

The deal also included an agreement from the trust that the next outsourced contract will award the workers full pay parity with NHS employees.

UNISON regional organiser Dale Ollier said: “At long last, the trust has given these workers the pay that they deserve and taken a big step to ending the two-tier workforce.

“These employees have stuck together over a very long campaign and this victory is testament to their determination to end the injustice of being treated differently by their employer.

“Outsourcing to private companies shouldn’t be used to undercut workers’ pay and employment conditions.”