UNISON calls on L&D Hospital to scrap deal with cleaning contractor over £1,000 pay gaps

L&D Hospital
L&D Hospital

UNISON has called on Luton & Dunstable Hospital to scrap its cleaning contractor which it claims is running a ‘demoralising’ three-tier workforce.

Many cleaners at Luton & Dunstable Hospital are more than £1,000 a year worse off than their colleagues doing the same job, the union has stated.

Staff who were transferred out of the National Health Service to Engie in 2015 are being paid NHS rates of £9.02 an hour but anyone who’s started since is paid the legal minimum of £8.21 an hour. Cleaners who started in the last year aren’t even receiving overtime rates for working on public holidays.

UNISON has stated that this means new starters are paid at least £1,400 less than colleagues who were at the hospital before cleaning services were sold off.

Eastern regional organiser Winston Dorsett said: “Cleaning, catering and housekeeping staff are paying the price for Engie’s profiteering.

“It’s completely unfair that when two workers are doing exactly the same job, one will end up £1,400 worse off at the end of the year – before even taking into account the hundreds of hours of overtime that so many of these employees rely upon.

“And Engie has confused and demoralised its staff further with a third set of pay and conditions brought in last year to squeeze a bit more cash out of the taxpayer.

“This firm is making its profits off the backs of some of the lowest-paid workers in our NHS.

“We hope the hospital will work with UNISON to bring this injustice to an end so these vital services can be properly valued in the NHS.”

The L&D Hospital declined to comment on the criticisms over Engie staff wages when contacted, but stated: "“The Trust has a contract with Engie to provide catering, domestic and housekeeping services. This contract is in place until Autumn 2020 and no decision has yet been taken about whether it will be extended.”