Trust's response to industrial action by Sodexo staff at St Mary's Hospital

In response to industrial action by Sodexo staff working at St Mary's Hospital, Professor Tim Orchard, chief executive officer at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, said:

“I am very clear that all of the staff who work in our hospitals – whether employed directly by us or through contracts with specialist companies like Sodexo – should be part of one team. The high quality care we provide to our patients is the result of collaboration between many different people and every role is important. It’s essential, therefore, that everyone who works here feels valued, motivated, and supported.

“One of my early actions as chief executive was to respond to concerns raised by our trade unions, such as Unison and the GMB, and other partners and commit to ensuring the pay of everyone working in our hospitals is at least at the level of the London Living Wage. This has the biggest implication for our facilities management contract, currently with Sodexo, covering our cleaners, porters and catering staff.  As the contract was due to be retendered, we decided to make this change part of the retendering process. We also introduced new considerations around staff welfare as part of the retendering process.

“We included the London Living Wage for all staff as a minimum requirement from day one of the new contract. We will be able to announce who has been awarded the new contract shortly and it is due to start in April 2020. Any staff currently on the minimum wage - £8.21 – will then have an increase of £2.34 per hour to bring them up to the London Living Wage hourly pay rate of £10.55. We estimate the cost of this additional investment to the Trust will be around £4 million per year.

“We remain concerned about the impact of minimum pay for staff working in our hospitals and we are exploring with our contract partners and trades unions any improvements that could be made sooner than April 2020.

“In the meantime, I hope that the offer of ACAS mediation to resolve the current dispute will be taken up so that improvements can continue to progress without industrial action. We are confident that the operational plans that have been put in place in response to the planned industrial action will mean it does not impact patient care but we would much rather avoid any potential risk completely.”

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