Strike action at the Royal London hospital in Whitechapel, involving back of house catering staff, has been suspended after their employer, outsourcing giant Serco, largely capitulated to the workers’ demands.


Workers bullied


The workers took five days of strike last month as a last resort, as they had been trying to resolve problems around an unworkable roster system and bullying for a year, without success.


Following talks at the conciliation service Acas last week, Serco has agreed to adopt a workable roster system and the manager accused of bullying will be moved from the department and provided with training.


Strikes suspended


As a consequence Unite has suspended the latest five day strike, which was due to start today (Monday 5 July), in order to consult its members on the offer and to allow for the exact details of the deal to be finalised.


Tremendous victory


Unite regional officer Ruth Hydon said: “This is a tremendous victory for our members who have stood together and faced down Serco, a multinational company.


“This dispute was about our members seeking fairness and decency in the workplace.


“The workforce simply wanted to be able to undertake their roles without being bullied and to be able to undertake caring duties and to study when not required to work.


“The Acas talks were a huge breakthrough as Serco finally agreed to act on the concerns that Unite has been raising with them for nearly a year.


“Providing that the final deal is in line with what was offered last week, this dispute should be resolved and there will be no further disruption to the meals patients receive at the hospital.”


A further five days of strike action are scheduled for next week beginning on Monday 12 July but Unite will call off this action once the deal is finalised.




Notes to editors:


Royal London hospital patients facing ‘food chaos’ as Serco workers to strike in bullying and roster clash


During the coronavirus crisis Unite is working to keep workers and the public safe, to defend jobs and to protect incomes.


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