Union to set up food banks for local hospital staff caught in payroll switch

Food bank Pic: Caithness Foodbank

The GMB Union  will set up food banks for low paid hospital workers in south-east London after outsourcing giant ISS announced that wages would be paid later than usual due to a new payroll system.

GMB Southern says ISS has been asking their workforce to take out “bridging loans” to cope with the holding back of wages.

ISS provides cleaning, catering, portering and security services to hospitals across Southeast London, including Lewisham, South London and Maudsley NHSTrust.

Head of Corporate Affairs for ISS, Craig Smith told ELL: “As part of our continuing improvement to our systems and processes, ISS is investing, replacing, and upgrading, our current payroll system and process.

“The new system will, most importantly, help us improve our service to employees, whilst enabling us to offer the most up-to-date payroll, employee vetting and labour management services.

Smith said the change in the payroll system was “a large and complex process” and the company was keeping employees informed about the forthcoming changes.

“The first month of the new process in April 2019 will result in some employees waiting slightly longer for their pay than they currently do, so we are offering interest-free bridging loans to help.

“Whilst we are aware that employees will be embarking upon change, we are offering financial and emotional support and giving the opportunity for people to discuss any issues directly with us, to help minimise any discomfort the employees may feel as a result of the change.”

Helen O’Connor, GMB Regional Organiser said: “GMB will not allow senior hospital managers to turn a blind eye to the suffering of a vital part of the hospital workforce.

“GMB Union is writing to hospital trust boards to make the point that these workers jobs are essential to the smooth running of the hospitals and will be requesting that NHS trusts who have outsourced to ISS make hardship payments to ISS workers and also to assist GMB Union to set up accessible food bank facilities on the affected hospital sites.”

O’Connor added: “It’s disgraceful that hard-working hospital workers are forced to turn to food banks in order to survive day to day. GMB members are already angry about low pay, frequent ‘pay errors’ leaving them short of pay and having to go into work sick due to an inadequate sick pay scheme. This ‘pay harmonisation drive’ is the last straw.”

GMB is now appealing to clinical staff, the public and hospital patients for donations for ISS workers.


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