Industrial action by Sodexo-employed staff at St Mary’s Hospital

A second period of industrial action by Sodexo-employed staff in relation to pay and terms and conditions has begun at St Mary’s Hospital.

Professor Tim Orchard, chief executive at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, said:

“I am disappointed that Sodexo and some of their staff at St Mary’s have not been able to resolve their dispute in order to end this industrial action. Our recent experience shows those who suffer most from the noise and disruption caused by picket line activity are our patients, many of whom are very sick.

“I hope the Trust’s decision last week to support a move to the London Living Wage for our facilities staff sooner than planned – together with clarity and action by Sodexo on a number of issues relating to terms and conditions – will help bring a resolution as soon as possible so we can avoid further disruption.”

Imperial College Healthcare specified an increase to the London Living Wage as the minimum pay level as part of a planned retendering of its facilities management contract, to be completed shortly, with the new contract due to begin in April 2020. Since the Trust announced this intention in April this year, it has been exploring the possibility of moving to the new pay level within its existing contract with Sodexo so that the pay increase could be achieved sooner.

Last week, following a review of its mid-year financial position and discussions with Sodexo and UNISON, the Trust was able to make a formal offer to bring forward the move to the London Living Wage to 1 November 2019. This means all facilities staff, currently employed by Sodexo, will have a pay increase to £10.55 per hour. The Trust’s additional in-year investment to make this possible is around £1 million. The Trust is also working with UNISON to determine how a move to the London Living Wage as the minimum pay rate can best be achieved for staff employed through other external contracts.

The Trust is working closely with Sodexo to minimise the impact of the industrial action on patient care and access to the hospital.