Hundreds of Mitie staff striking today at Dudley Group hospitals

Staff demand NHS payment given to hundreds of thousands of other health workers

Around 300 of the lowest-paid staff working at hospitals in Dudley will take strike action today (Friday) over their employer’s refusal to pay them a lump sum worth at least £1,655 that has already been given to hundreds of thousands of people employed by the NHS, says UNISON.

The health staff, who work at Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust (DGFT) but are employed by private contractor Mitie, began their 24-hour walkout at 5am. Another strike lasting 24 hours is lined up for next Thursday (29 February).

The workers, who include cleaners, domestics, porters, catering staff and many other important hospital roles, must be treated fairly and handed the money they’re owed, the union says.

In June 2023, a deal was agreed for all staff on NHS contracts who are on Agenda for Change pay scales. This included a one-off payment for 2022/23.

However, Mitie has not honoured this, says UNISON. As a result, its employees have earned far less than their colleagues directly employed by the NHS and doing similar work, the union adds.

Mitie’s claim that the extra payment is unaffordable does not stack up, says UNISON. Last year company boss Phil Bentley reportedly received a remuneration package totalling £5.9 million.

Earlier this month staff voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action following a three-week ballot.

UNISON general secretary Christina McAnea said: “Everyone working in the NHS is part of the same healthcare family and should be paid properly.

“Private contractors should all be honouring their obligation to pay staff what they’re due. It’s time for Mitie and some other firms to make good on these missing payments. That would end this strike in an instant.”

UNISON West Midlands regional organiser Ollie Hopkins said: “Staff care deeply about patients and services. The last thing they want to do is strike, but Mitie has forced them into this situation.

“They have been treated incredibly shabbily. It’s all the more shocking that Mitie is a company making millions in profit each year.

“The chief executive’s annual bonus alone would almost cover this payment for all the Dudley workers. And yet the company says it doesn’t have the money to give some of the lowest-paid staff in the NHS the money they’re due.

“It’s no wonder they’re outraged.”

UNISON steward and Mitie domestic Denise Stevens said: “Mitie can stop the strike action and end the dispute in an instant if managers pay us the lump sum that other NHS colleagues all received.

“None of us wanted to be in the position of taking strike action, but Mitie has left us no choice.

Notes to editors:
– Earlier this week a delegation of the workers, including UNISON stewards, protested and held up banners outside the Shard building in London where Mitie has its headquarters. They also visited Parliament where they met Dudley North MP Marco Longhi, who agreed to write to Mitie, the chief executive of NHS England and health secretary Victora Atkins on their behalf.
– An overwhelming majority of workers (96%) who took part in the ballot voted in favour of strike action. The turnout was 78%.
– A picket line will be outside the main entrance road to Russells Hall Hospital, Dudley, today from 8am to 4pm.
– In June 2023, directly employed NHS workers received a lump-sum “non-consolidated bonus” as part of the NHS pay deal. For the lowest paid in the NHS, the lump sum was £1,655.
– Mitie chief executive Phil Bentley is reported to have taken home £5.85m last year. This included his £900,000 salary and £838,000 annual bonus. The company estimates it would cost up to £900,000 to make the payment to staff.
– UNISON is the UK’s largest union with more than 1.3 million members providing public services in education, local government, the NHS, police service and energy. They are employed in the public, voluntary and private sectors.

Media contacts:
Anthony Barnes M: 07834 864794 E:
Ollie Hopkins M: 07939 143195 E: