Staff at Croydon University Hospital are to stage a protest over claims that cleaners and porters have not received full sick pay when absent with Covid – which union leaders allege have forced some to work while suffering with the virus.
The union claims to know of cases of workers who went into work at the hospital with Covid symptoms as they could not afford to take time off and were not provided occupational sick pay when self-isolating. Those affected were forced to rely on statutory sick pay provided by the government, amounting to £96.35 a week.
The employees work for G4S, which is contracted by the hospital trust, and which has strongly denied that workers were denied full pay while sick. The union have since warned G4S that denying full sick pay to workers may lead to strike action, as urged by staff.
GMB have now called on the Croydon Health Services NHS Trust to take the contract with G4S back in house in order to guarantee sick pay for workers.
Helen O’Connor, GMB regional organiser, said in a statement: “These members have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic at great risk to themselves and their families and they are demanding fair sick pay so that they do not put patients at risk from cross infection.”
She added that if GS4 were “not willing to ensure their staff and patients were as safe as possible during a pandemic, they cannot continue to hold the contract”.
Asked about the claims, a spokesperson from G4S told Eastlondonlines: “The wellbeing of our staff is paramount. Our employees receive sick pay as per their contractual terms and in line with all government and Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Services guidelines.
“Employees who have not been able to attend work due to Covid-19 have received full pay.”
In response to G4S’s denial, O’Connor told ELL: “GMB Members were already angry over the removal of Covid sick pay and are now absolutely incensed that their employer is publicly accusing them of lying about it. “Their resolve is hardening by the day; they can see G4S is not taking their welfare seriously and is calling their honesty into question.”
O’Connor added: “GMB calls on Croydon University Hospital to intervene to protect the welfare of these employees and avoid any industrial action.”
“Just today I met a member who is vulnerable and shielded for three days but got nothing. He has now returned to work. Some are telling me that they are going sick with other conditions and not even getting statutory sick pay in here … This is the reason our members are demanding full occupational sick pay.”
A spokesperson from Croydon Health Services NHS Trust told ELL: “Our portering and domestic teams play a vital role in the care we deliver to our patients and their continued safety and wellbeing remains our top priority.
“G4S, our contracted providers, have confirmed to the Trust that all employees continue to receive full pay for Covid-19 related sickness.”