26 October 2010
Unite members at South London and Maudsley (SLaM) NHS trust are being balloted in a consultative ballot for industrial action over disparities in terms and conditions.
Cleaners, catering staff and domestic staff are angry with the inequality between different workers’ terms and conditions. Supervisors, who are employed by contractor Aramark are on lesser terms and conditions than the staff they manage, resulting in less sick pay, annual leave and weekend pay.
A Unite campaign successfully secured NHS terms and conditions for domestic ward and catering staff – also employed by the contractor – a year ago, but after nearly a year of further negotiations supervisors remain on inferior conditions.
Richard Munn, Unite regional officer, said: “Our members are fed up with being treated like commodities and want fairness for their colleagues. The contractors are exploiting their employees by expecting them to oversee staff, who at weekends are actually earning more money than them. Our members rightly expect a better remuneration package when they take on more responsibility. I am sure that such unfairness does not happen further up the management structure within Aramark.
“The ballot closes on Monday 1 November and if there has been no resolution from the company by this point we will begin an industrial action formal ballot.”
SLaM NHS trust is a large mental health trust which covers areas of Lambeth, Southwark, Lewisham, Croydon and Bromley. Unite has over 200 members at the two large hospital sites the Bethlem and Maudsley.
Employees on NHS terms and conditions receive a minimum of 27 days annual leave, enhancements at weekends and bank holidays and a sick pay scheme aligned to length of service (amongst other terms). Supervisors get just 21 days leave, no enhancement at weekends and minimal sick pay.