Hospital cleaners demanding London Living Wage

By Owen Sheppard NOV 4, 2019

Police were called to St Mary’s Hospital A&E where cleaners and porters were on strike to demand higher wages and improved benefits.

More than 150 workers took part in the walk-out on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this week (October 29-October 31)

The United Voices of the World trade union, which organised the strike, called it “one of the longest strikes in NHS history”.

The workers, who are demanding the London Living Wage, and are employed by French outsourcing company Sodexo.

They banged drums, blew whistles and sang and danced outside the hospital wards in South Wharf Road, Paddington.

The Met attended at 5.30pm on Thursday, October 31, after hospital bosses said the protests had caused “noise and disruption”.

Four officers attended and no arrests were made.

Loreta Younsi, 44, a cleaning supervisor and mother-of-three, said: “We want equality with staff who are hired directly by the hospital.

“We get only 20 days of annual leave and we want more than just Statutory Sick Pay [£94 per week].

“As a supervisor I’m on £9.82 per hour, but most cleaners are on only £8.21.”

A statement from the trade union said the cleaners’ low sick pay is “forcing them to work on wards when ill — sometimes with contagious illnesses such as the flu — as they cannot afford to take time off when sick”.

Ms Younsi, who has worked at St Mary’s for 12 years and commutes from Walthamstow in North East London, added: “The majority of us can only afford to live in Zone 4.