Liverpool Women’s Hospital staff win pay battle

Staff employed by private contractor call off strike after company agrees to pay them the NHS rate for the job

UNISON members at Liverpool Women’s Hospital have won their struggle to secure NHS rates of pay.

The domestics, porters, catering and security staff are all employed by a private contractor, OCS, which had refused to pay them the same rate for the job as staff employed directly by the NHS, who had seen their pay rise under last year’s nationally agreed deal.

Now, the OCS staff will no longer be paid just the legal minimum wage, but will receive the higher NHS rate.

This is worth more than £1 an hour – over £2,000 a year for full-time staff. As part of a three-year deal, staff will also get the same payments as their  colleagues for working anti-social hours, overtime and weekends.

The pay increase is to be jointly funded by OCS and the hospital trust.

Staff took three days of strike action in February and March, with a further planned day of action on 1 April called off as a deal came close.

UNISON North West regional organiser Maria Moss said: “Justice had been done at last. All hospital workers are part of the NHS team and they should all be recognised for the important work they do.

“It is unfortunate that our members had to resort to strike action to get treated fairly, but the support from hospital colleagues and the public has helped staff to stick with it to the end.

“We hope that other privateers working in the NHS sit up and take note of what has happened at the Women’s Hospital. Private contractors will be challenged where they are taking profits out of the NHS by underpaying hospital workers.”