‘Scrooge’ blast at NHS trust in pay parity row
A TRADE union says 600 hospital contract workers have been short-changed for two years.
The GMB complains that porters, cleaners and caterers at the William Harvey and other hospitals in East Kent have missed out on thousands of pounds because an increase from the Government has not been passed on by East Kent Hospitals University NHS Trust.
Frank Macklin, GMB organiser, said: “The East Kent trust has decided to play Scrooge for the third Christmas running. GMB believes that enough is enough.”
The general workers’ union says that in October 2006 the Department of Health provided money to match the pay of contracted workers with that of counterparts directly employed by the NHS. Staff of private contractor Medirest are affected.
The union says this means a Medirest porter is paid £45 to £60 a week less than an NHS colleague, and the 600 staff are on just 7p an hour above the minimum wage.
It says the trust is still refusing to pay up after latest talks with the union at Medirest, yet most UK NHS Trusts have passed on the increase.
In a joint statement Medirest and East Kent Hospitals University Trust (EKHUT) said they had been working hard to try to resolve the dispute, adding: “There is a special meeting between us next week in order to see how we can bring the matter to a speedy conclusion.”
Stuart Bain, chief executive of EKHUT, said the trust was “totally committed to achieving parity for all our staff”.
“However, we are the custodians of public money and must ensure that we spend carefully and obtain value for money in everything that we do.
“We have been working closely with our partner company Medirest to achieve both of these objectives and are now trying to establish the precise costs of any change.”
Children from the Aldington School’s eco club are busy tree planting