SOME 700 UNITE MEMBERS, employed by the notorious outsourcing giant, Serco, are waging a determined battle for an extremely modest pay rise of just 30 pence an hour.
Serco, a British-based multinational, which relies almost entirely on profits generated by the outsourcing of public service workers, recently won a £600 million contract with the Barts NHS Trust, the largest in England, across four east London hospitals (Mile End, the Royal London, St Barts and Whipps Cross) for so-called ‘soft services’.
The company’s current chief executive is Rupert Soames, Winston Churchill’s grandson, who actually took a salary cut when compared to his predecessor. Mr Soames receives a basic remuneration package of just over £800,000 a year, roughly 45 times the annual earnings of a full-time employee on the outsourced contract.
The largely migrant workers - cleaners, porters and security staff, most of whom currently receive just £10 an hour - mounted 23 days of lively strike action in July and early August, including a well-supported demonstration on 15th July, addressed by shadow chancellor, John McDonnell. They also took part in an early morning lobby of Serco shareholders on 3rd August, joining forces later that day with fellow Unite members on strike at the Bank of England and British Airways Unite officials have since announced a further 25 days of action spread across five weeks between 18th August and late September.
This dispute is a critically important fight against both poverty and the consequences of privatisation, which warrants the support of the labour movement as a whole.
- Messages of support to: email@example.com
- Donations: by electronic bank transfer to account number 20344885, sort code 60-83-01. Cheques payable to ‘Barts NHS Health Branch’ and sent to: Willie Howard, Unite the Union, 33-37 Moreland St, EC1V 8BB.
Chair of Camden Trades Council and trade union co-ordinator, Hackney North CLP