Dudley MP raises Mitie strikers’ struggle in the Commons

Leader of the House Penny Mordaunt MP says she will make sure the case of the Dudley workers is looked at

A group of Mitie workers with Christina McAnea on a visit to UNISON Centre

UNISON members employed by private contractor Mitie at Russells Hall Hospital in Dudley, in the West Midlands, received support yesterday from local MP Marco Longhi, in their fight to receive a government mandated COVID-19 bonus payment that has been paid to non-medical staff who are directly employed by the NHS.

Having already taken three days of strike action, they will be striking again on 25 and 27 March.

Conservative MP Mr Longhi asked the leader of the House of Commons, Penny Mordaunt, whether she would support the workers.

He said: “I would like to place on record my thanks to the workers employed by Mitie during the pandemic and encourage the Department of Health and Social Care to work with me and resolve this issue.”

Ms Mordaunt responded that extra funding was being made available for private contractors such as Mitie to apply for money for the extra payment for those not directly employed by the health service.

She added that she would make sure the individual case of the Dudley hospital workers is looked at in a bid to resolve the problem.

Denise Stevens, a domestic at the hospital and a UNISON steward (pictured above on the right), said: “All we are asking for is the same COVID-19 bonus payment that NHS colleagues received last year.

“The support from the local Black Country community has been huge on strike days and throughout this dispute.

“We have received support from the Dudley North MP, Marco Longhi, as well as Labour politicians in the area, demonstrating that our support is widespread and from across the political spectrum.”

Regional organiser Ollie Hopkins added: “Mitie say they can’t afford to pay the bonus, but they have found the money to bus in strike-breaking workers, from Cumbria to Kent, with food provided, paid travel time, accommodation and a voucher offered for covering the strike action.

“The cruel irony, that Mitie say they can’t afford to pay low-paid workers the COVID bonus but can find the money for the strike breaking, has not been lost on the workers.

“As Marco Longhi MP said in Parliament, Mitie wants the taxpayer to cover the payments.

“But with millions in profits, Mitie should stop dragging their feet and waiting for the government to bail them out. Their CEO’s bonus was bigger than the total cost of the 450 Dudley health workers bonuses combined, so they have the money to end this dispute in an instant.”

The NHS workers in a Mitie fight for fair pay