Maudsley strikers picketed in big numbers (Picture: Guy Smallman)

Some of the lowest-paid, worst-treated workers in the NHS hit back this week. Around 200 cleaners and catering workers at the South London and Maudsley NHS Trust walked out on Wednesday morning, the start of a four-day strike.

The GMB union members have already struck for two days over wages and conditions.

The outsourced staff work for the giant private sector ISS firm and some are paid as little as £10.84 an hour.

“They are demanding a rise to £14.34 an hour and the full Agenda for Change terms and conditions that other NHS workers get.

“Our members who do vital work for the trust have had enough of eking out a miserable existence on poverty pay whilst juggling impossible workloads,” says GMB organiser Helen O’Connor.

“Management seems to believe they are a Real London Living Wage employer, but the basic pay of these outsourced workers tells a different story. They are 90p an hour short of the Real Living Wage.

“They are struggling to feed themselves and their families. The anger is palpable among the workers who just want to be treated fairly.

Maudsley strikers are angry at outsourcer ISS (Picture: Guy Smallman)

“GMB members are also concerned that ISS is cutting hours and replacing permanent staff with agency workers. This means that cleaning and catering are being compromised.”

Last year these ISS workers did not receive a pay rise at all. And the previous year the “increase” was a paltry 0.2 percent. Workers are determined there will be no repeat of such insulting treatment.

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