Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union, is to ballot its members employed by cleaning contractor ISS at the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen hospitals for industrial action in a dispute over pay.

The staff, predominately women, are angry that ISS, a multibillion pound global outsourcing giant, is not paying them the agreed national pay uplift for NHS workers.

ISS employs hospital cleaners, porters and domestic staff at the two Liverpool hospitals, many of whom are paid hourly and earn the minimum wage.

Unite is pressing for pay parity in line with directly employed NHS and other contracted colleagues doing the same job at the Women’s and Walton hospitals who received 11.4 per cent.

Unite will be balloting its 231 members at the two Liverpool hospitals, for strike action and industrial action short of a strike, for parity pay. Depending on the outcome, workers are expected to walk out between mid-May to early August, with an overtime ban also scheduled for the same time.

The ballot opens on Friday (12 April) and closes on Friday 3 May.

The outsourcing company is also under fire from Unite over its plans to withhold up to a week’s pay from workers after introducing a new payroll system for its workers, including hourly paid workers.

ISS’ low paid workers will stage another protest over unpaid wages and to mark the start of the ballot over unfair pay outside the Royal Liverpool Hospital main entrance on Monday 15 April from 11.00 to 13.00. This follows a protest held on Friday 5 April.

Unite regional officer Derek Jones said: “These low paid workers are proud of work they do, but they feel undervalued and underpaid.

“It is totally unacceptable for a multi-million pound company to put its workforce in this situation. These hardworking staff are doing the same job as colleagues in other Merseyside hospitals, but ISS is paying them less.

“Workers are further enraged by management withholding a week’s pay – they deserve better than this.

“Our members are fighting for parity pay with other NHS staff in Liverpool. Management’s refusal to consult properly over pay has left our members with no option but to ballot for industrial action.

“We need to stand up and make our voice heard. We hope members of the public will join us outside the Royal on Monday lunchtime to demand parity pay for this group of low paid workers.”

Unite is calling on ISS management to pay workers what they are owed and to demand parity pay in line with the NHS national agreed pay rate for workers.


Notes to editors:

For more information please contact Derek Jones on 07718 668 489 and/or Unite communications officer Karen Viquerat on 0151 559 2004 or 07768 931 316. Unite press office is on 020 3371 2065.