‘SANTA pigs’ demonstrated outside four south London hospitals yesterday against the bullying of cleaners by managers of the private company they work for, ISS.
Under the slogan ‘Stop Taking The *ISS’, the protests were at The Maudsley Hospital, Lambeth Hospital, Bethlem Hospital and the Queen Elizabeth in Woolwich. The union which represents them – GMB – said that they are taking action against the multi-national private company after staff said they were bullied, followed to the toilets and told by a manager: ‘I don’t care about the patients.’
ISS is a £9 billion global outsourcing giant that employs cleaning, portering and security staff at hospitals around the country. In some cases ISS are using what they call ‘casual worker agreements’ and pay as low as £7.88 an hour.
Members have reported the following horrific stories to GMB:
• A manager told one member he didn’t care about the patients – they don’t make him any money and all he cares about is making money.
• Cleaners being followed to the toilet by supervisors demanding to know where they are going and why they have stopped working.
• Staff being bullied and having their pay withheld.
• Workers on casual contracts asking for the day off only to be told they won’t get any more shifts if they do.
Nadine Houghton, GMB Organiser, said: ‘These stories from NHS workers are the kind of thing you’d expect in a Victorian workhouse. But this isn’t a Charles Dickens novel – this is 21st century Britain. It’s beyond belief people are being forced to live and work like this in our health service.’