More than 200 UNISON members working for Sodexo at the
North Devon NHS Trust are due to start a two-day strike at midnight
tonight over the company’s and trust’s refusal to pay them Agenda for
Change wages due three years ago.
Further action is planned on a weekly basis.
Back in 2005, the NHS, unions and private contractors signed a joint
national statement to end the two-tier workforce in the health service
by giving staff working for contractors the same Agenda for Change pay
and conditions as colleagues working directly for the NHS.
And although UNISON says the North Devon trust received money to cover
this, and the national agreement should have been implemented in
October 2006, the cleaners, porters and cooks and others employed by
Sodexo are still waiting for a pay rise and back pay.
“Our members don’t want to take industrial action,” said UNISON
regional organiser Helen Eccles, but “they’ve waited three years for
the national agreement to be implemented, despite the fact that the
trust has already received the funds.
“Our members simply want to know when they will receive fair play.”
The industrial action, voted for by 97% of members on a 81% turn-out,
follows on the heels of the workers organising themselves to campaign
for what they’re owed over the last few months.
UNISON membership has risen from 45 to more than 200 between June last
year and the end of 2009, and the workers have an organising committee
of five stewards.
The trust and Sodexo have responded to the workforce getting organised
and threatening industrial action by agreeing to Agenda for Pay sick
pay and holiday entitlements from the beginning of this year, but have
still not moved on paying the workers the correct rate or back pay.
Messages of support and financial donations can be sent to the branch at
North Devon District Hospital
Suite 2 Munro House