Barts workers announce 25 more strike dates ahead of talks tomorrow

Barts Strike UniteHundreds of low paid workers determined to secure a fair pay increase from their employer Serco have announced 25 more days of strike action at Barts Health NHS Trust.

Talks are scheduled between Unite and Serco tomorrow, with the union saying strike action can be avoided if the company gets serious about resolving the dispute and brings a fair pay offer to the negotiating table. The workers are preparing to take 25 days of strike action spread across five weeks beginning on 18 August.

Following talks on July 24, the workforce rejected a ‘measly’ offer of just £2 extra a week. The workforce most of whom earn just above the London living wage want 30 pence an hour extra following years of low pay and below inflation pay deals.

Unite regional officer Ruth Hydon said: “Hundreds of low paid workers vital to maintaining a clean and safe health service are fighting for fair pay and dignity at work. They have already taken 23 days of strike action and are preparing for 25 more days of action during August and September. Serco has an opportunity to end this dispute at England’s largest health trust by offering a fair pay offer at talks this Friday.

“The strikes have been solidly supported and it’s quite clear that Unite members remain determined and focused. At recent talks Serco offered a measly £2 extra a week when workers are calling for an extra 30 pence an hour. After years of pay deals which have meant pay cuts in real terms they deserve better.

“We urge Serco to get serious and address the scourge of low pay affecting the workforce who keep our hospitals safe and clean.”

Unite members have already held a 48-hour strike on Tuesday 4 July, a seven day strike from Tuesday 11 July and a 14 day strike from 25 July. The workers are now taking 25 days of strike action spread across five weeks beginning on 18 August. The workers will take strike action on each Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday of the five week period.

Serco won the £600 million soft services contract for Barts Health NHS Trust last year. The company made a profit of £82 million in 2016.

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