Unite press release

Embargoed until Monday 00.01 Monday 1 May 2023

May day marks new beginning for outsourced NHS workers at Barts who become NHS employees

Unite’s landmark victory to end the two tier workforce becomes a reality.

The hard fought campaign included two weeks of strike action in February 2022.

Unite’s landmark agreement with one of the UK’s largest NHS Trusts has become a reality today (1 May). The last tranche of the 1,800 NHS workers formerly employed by the outsourcer Serco are now directly employed by the NHS.

Last year a tireless campaign by Unite activists and union reps, which included strike action, paved the way for the agreement. It meant cleaners, caterers, porters, security guards, ward hosts and domestic staff working at the Barts Health group of hospitals are now all on NHS pay, terms and conditions.

Unite General Secretary Sharon Graham said: “It is appropriate that May day marks a new beginning for these workers at Barts. Of course NHS workers are in the midst of a historic battle for fair pay. But now, thanks to Unite’s unyielding campaign, these workers who were treated as second class before now can stand side by side with paramedics, nurses and doctors as equals within the NHS.”

Workers were transferred in November 2022, February 2023 and the last and largest tranche of Serco Barts workers totalling 1387 workers will transfer today on 1st May 2023. The majority were black, Asian and ethnic minority women migrant workers.

Unite regional officer Tabusam Ahmed said: “Unite members and their representatives have shown impressive determination and resilience to win their deal. This landmark victory should inspire outsourced workers across the UK.

“Unite will support any members being treated unfairly to ensure they receive the pay they deserve. Our union will ensure the drive for equality is not only talked about but acted on.”


Contact: Ciaran Naidoo 07768 931 315

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Unite is the UK and Ireland’s leading union fighting to protect and advance jobs, pay and conditions for members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Sharon Graham.