Security guards at London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital will strike for six weeks from 18 January, demanding equality of pay and conditions with directly-employed workmates on NHS contracts. The strike is set to be one of the longest in NHS history.
Erica Rasheed, a security guard and activist in the United Voices of the World (UVW) union, said: “In seven months, I will give birth to my second child at an NHS hospital, and like many women across the country, I will marvel at this wonderful service which I’m proud to be part of delivering.
“But it will be a bittersweet moment, because I won’t be able to afford to stay with my newborn longer than the six weeks statutory maternity pay gives me. My NHS colleagues get to stay home for five months. They earn a whopping £2,500 more during that time. From a woman’s perspective, this is what outsourcing looks like.”
UVW argues that outsourcing represents a form of indirect racial discrimination, as it leads to an outsourced workforce, with a higher proportion of migrants workers and workers of colour, having substantially worse pay and conditions than a directly-employed workforce which is majority white. The union is pursuing legal claims in a number of the workplaces in which it organises on this basis.
• More, and strike fund details, here