‘Scrooge’ blast at NHS trust in pay par­ity row

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Countryfile - by Sam Len­non slen­non@thek­m­group.co.uk

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.

Spe­cial meet­ing

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.”

Pic­ture: Gary Browne pd1517282

Chil­dren from the Ald­ing­ton School’s eco club are busy tree plant­ing

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