UNITE Rep at Barts and Whipps Cross hospitals, Leonard Hockey spoke to News Line about the delegation that joined the St Thomas and Guy’s security workers’ picket outside St Thomas’ yesterday.
He said: ‘We are currently out on strike ourselves until the 9th of February. We are in dispute over the lump sum payment not being paid by management. There are five hospitals in Barts.
‘We have come from the picket line at Whipps Cross Hospital to show our solidarity with other Unite members.’
Idris Bary, Unite member and security guard at St Thomas’ Hospital said: ‘I have been working here for 17 years and recently we were taken in-house and now we have an issue about our contract and fair pay, so we have come out on strike for five days to persuade management to behave responsibly.’
While pickets danced and shuffled to lively African tunes, Florence from Whipps Cross said: ‘We are really positive and we will keep pushing until victory. We are out for five days because we are not getting the right answer from management, so we move and will keep moving until we get victory.’
Striking security guard, known locally as AA, said: ‘The managers won’t listen to us. The bills are going up. We can’t afford anything. People are losing their homes, losing their jobs.
‘Those people in Parliament over there are talking every day but they won’t listen. So we must take de bull by de horns! Give the people a rise!’
Security workers at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital Trust are striking for six days over pay and conditions. It is the continuation of a battle over pay and conditions that has been going on since the end of the pandemic.
Alessio Ligorio, a security officer, spoke to News Line: ‘This is the first day of strike action. We are demanding proper pay. We are being paid at a lower rate. We were on Band 2, then they raised it to Band 3, but we should be on Band 4. Also the way we are being treated by management is really bad. In my opinion many human rights have been broken.’
Yaw Antwi and Aamna Iqbal agreed: ‘We are fighting for proper pay, and objecting to the way we are treated. We only get 18 days holiday a year.’
Onay Kasab, Unite national lead organiser, told News Line: ‘They are cutting staffing levels. Although it’s a local dispute, they are the same issues we had a national strike over but they haven’t been resolved.
‘Breaks are unpaid, and they want to add 20 minutes to the breaks, effectively adding 20 minutes to the working day for no extra pay. There is also action in East Lancs, East Midlands and the South East.’