Lewisham Hospital cleaners win pay increase after walk-out

Image By – GMB Union
Protest outside University Lewisham Hospital

Hospital cleaners in Lewisham won a pay rise after industrial action including a day-long walk-out in protest at being underpaid.

Staff working for private cleaning contractor, ISS saw their hourly rate rise from £8.21 to £10.55 after walking out of University Hospital Lewisham wards treating Coronavirus positive patients for a day in March.

GMB Southern Organiser Hellen O’Connor said: “This is a significant win for GMB Union and our members.

“These brave hospital cleaners endured threats and bullying throughout their dispute, but their persistence has now paid off.” 

The cleaning staff returned back to work the following morning [March 13], after a promise from ISS that their grievances would be met.

According to GMB, ISS threatened to withhold their promise of a London Living Wage if the workers attended the protest that day. 

O’Connor added: “We have long campaigned for outsourced workers in Lewisham Hospital to be paid the London Living Wage and have held a number of protests outside the hospital which were backed by the community and the TUC [Trade Union Congress].

“The success of the Lewisham Hospital campaign shows that when unions and communities work together to stand up for themselves, they can and do win against corporate power.” 

Councillor Alan Hall, who had supported the campaign, told Eastlondonlines: “Caterers, cleaners and porters will be paid the London Living Wage. This is a great result for them, they are key workers, they should be paid a living wage. It shows why you should join a trade union – there’s power in a union.”

The latest NHS Staff Survey Results for the Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust, states that only 25.4% of the staff agreed that their organisation takes positive action on health and well-being. 

ISS told Eastlondonlines: “ISS is pleased to be moving all ISS employees to £10.55 an hour as a minimum, agreed as part of the new contract with Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust. This was agreed between ISS and the Trust last year, and the payments have been backdated to February 2020, when the contract started.”

Leave a Reply