Security staff at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading, locked in a ‘David and Goliath’ pay battle with their employer, will be staging a third wave of strikes into early March.

The 20 security guards have been taking strike action since mid-December over the failure of their employer Kingdom Services Group Ltd to make a decent pay offer for 2020. They provide security for the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust.

The third wave of strike action, announced today (Friday 29 January) by Unite the union, will run from 19.00 on Friday 12 February and ending at 19.00 on Sunday 7 March.

This follows on from already announced strikes from 07:00 on 1 February until 19.00 on 5 February; and from 07:00 on 8 February until 19.00 on 12 February.

Unite’s members are seeking a pay increase to £12 an hour for security officers and £13.00 an hour for security supervisors but, so far, the bosses have refused to budge from an offer which would see security officers on £9.30 an hour and supervisors on £10 an hour.

Unite contrasts the modest nature of the pay demand of the guards on the Covid-19 NHS frontline with the bulging pockets of the Kingdom Services Group, a major corporate service provider with a £100 million plus turnover.

Unite regional officer Jesika Parmar said: “Our members will continue their campaign for a decent pay rise with nearly a month of strike action into early March.

“This is truly a ‘‘David and Goliath’ struggle for a group of lowly paid workers against a massive corporate with deep pockets – and the fact that our members have received great support from the Reading public and further afield shows that people can see a glaring pay injustice.

“Our members, who provide security 24/7 at the Royal Berkshire Hospital on the Covid-19 frontline, would like to say a big ‘thank you’ to those that have shown such morale-boosting support and solidarity – it has been a real new year tonic. 

“They are seeking a modest pay increase to £12 an hour for security officers and £13.00 an hour for security supervisors, but standing in the way of this reasonable demand for a living wage is a management, which is part of a global organisation with a £100 million turnover.

“The company refuses to budge on its paltry pay offer - it is like a stuck record - and avoids meaningful talks over the 2020 pay award. However, there has been some movement on issues such as harmonisation of sick pay, and enhanced pay for working nights, weekends and overtime.

“Our members have been very reluctant to take industrial action during a continuing national crisis, but strongly feel that the bosses are using the pandemic as an excuse to drive down pay and employment conditions which is totally unacceptable.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

Those working for the NHS and members of the general public can sign the online petition supporting the security guards below:

https://www.megaphone.org.uk/petitions/pay-royal-berkshire-hospital-security-staff-a-wage-they-can-live-on

The company’s website states: ‘Kingdom is one of the largest, independent and privately owned companies specialising in security solutions, facilities management, environmental protection and recruitment within the UK, Ireland and South Asia. We operate on a £100 million+ turnover.’

For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Unite press office is on:  020 3371 2065.

Please note the numbers above are for journalists’ enquiries only.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1 Web: unitetheunion.org 

Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.