‘PAY US WHAT WE ARE OWED’ – say Whipps Cross strikers

Whipps Cross strikers on the picket line early yesterday morning
Whipps Cross strikers on the picket line early yesterday morning

Nearly 300 porters, cleaners and switchboard staff employed by Rentokil Initial at Whipps Cross Hospital in East London began another three days of strike action yesterday.

Pickets were out from 6am in a dispute over management’s failure to honour an equal pay deal agreed after a strike three years ago.

UNISON member, porter Martin Hagger told News Line: ‘Initial are holding back the money they should have paid us on April 1st this year for the Agenda for Change.

‘As far as we know they’ve got the money but they are not paying it to us.

‘We should be getting £37 extra per week for London weighting, and we don’t get sick pay at the moment.

‘People who work for the NHS do get sick pay.

‘we all do the same job we should all get the same money.’

Fellow porter and UNISON member Richard Wilson added: ‘We want the full pay.

‘Most of us have personal financial problems and it’s about time we were paid what we deserve.’

Pickets were out in force at lunchtime.

Joyce Mensah and Sarah Crabb told News Line: ‘We are not going back, we want our money. It was already negotiated.

‘They knew this problem was going to come. They closed their ears.’

Akosua Twumwaa said: ‘I have not seen a single day an employee has gone to tell management, “I want to do my contracted job halfway’’.

‘There is no way Initial management will agree to that.

‘So why do they want to pay us half the money they owe us since April 1, 2006?’

JF Kennedy said: ‘Initial management thinks most of its workers are composed of ethnic minorities, mostly black Africans, so they think we cannot speak for our rights because they assume English is not our language.

‘Initial is surprised about our firm stand.’

Len Hockey, UNISON joint branch secretary for Waltham Forest Health branch, added: ‘At the mass meeting members were angered at the stinginess of both the Trust and Initial over the money they owe.’

‘The employers’ desire to hold onto £900 of the members’ money (higher cost area supplement) has hardened the members’ resolve to fight for the full £1,400 per worker.’

Today, workers will hand out leaflets outside Rentokil head office in Victoria, despite being threatened with legal action by the company which is has alleged such a protest would constitute a picket.