Unite, Britain’s biggest union, is urging Liverpool city council to back a motion (see notes to editors) to be debated this Wednesday (20 September) which calls on the outsourcing giant ISS to end its attack on sick pay for hundreds of workers at the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals.
The workforce has been stripped of a fair sick pay policy. It has been replaced with an inferior scheme where employees can only accrue 12 sick days per year.
This compares to the NHS sick pay scheme where workers get up to six months on full pay and a further six months on half pay. It would take around 15 years’ service with ISS, without a single day off work sick to accrue six months on full pay.
Liverpool deputy mayor Anne O’Byrne and city councillor Nick Small and have tabled a motion urging the council to call on ISS to reinstate the full sick pay scheme which mirrors the scheme available to NHS workers. A collective grievance containing over 270 names was submitted to management calling for the full sick pay scheme to be reinstated. However, ISS management have repeatedly ignored all attempts to discuss this issue with Unite officials and to bring this to a resolution.
Unite regional officer Keith Hutson said: “This is not just about workers at ISS being treated as second class citizens – they are being denied access to a humane sick pay scheme while working at a hospital of all places. We hope members of the council will back the motion calling on ISS to reinstate a fair sickness scheme.
"The ISS sick pay policy means the most seriously ill, suffering from illnesses like cancer, heart problems, or physical injuries, are faced with the unacceptable choice of either working when unfit to do so, or facing severe financial difficulties. Stripping workers of their dignity does nothing to help the workforce or the hospital and we hope the council will support the workforce and call for the reinstatement the original scheme.”
ISS facilities staff provide vital services to the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen Hospitals, cleaning our hospital wards, transporting patients around hospital departments and cooking for patients, visitors and staff. Yet when they are ill and unable to come to work, they are being denied access to a fair sick pay scheme unlike that available to NHS workers and ISS workers at other trusts.
Notes to editors:
Motion: ISS Facilities Management Limited at the Royal Liverpool & Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust by Councillors Nick Small and Ann O’Byrne
"Council notes that staff employed by ISS Facilities Management Limited (ISS) provide vital services at the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust (RLBUHT), cleaning hospital wards, transporting patients around hospital departments and cooking for patients, visitors and staff.
"Council notes the changes that ISS have made to the sick pay scheme for facilities management workers at RLBUHT and only one other NHS Trust in the country, which has reduced sick pay to 12 days. Council notes that this means that staff who are the most seriously ill and most in need of time away from work, workers suffering from illnesses like cancer, heart problems or physical injuries, are the people who are faced with the difficult decision of either working when medically unfit to do so or facing severe financial difficulties due to not being paid.
"Council further notes the collective grievance containing over 270 names submitted by Unite the Union to ISS management calling for the full sick pay scheme to be reinstated, which has so far been repeatedly ignored by ISS management.
"Council therefore calls on ISS to negotiate with Unite with a view to reinstating the full sick pay regime so that ISS facilities management staff at RLBUHT have access to a fair sick pay scheme on the same basis available to NHS workers and ISS worker at other NHS Trusts and also calls on the RLBUHT Board and management to put pressure on ISS to make this happen.
"Council requests that the Mayor writes to the Chief Executives of ISS and RLBUHT outlining the terms of this motion."
For more information please contact Ciaran Naidoo on 07768 931 315
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.