GMB union calls for food bank for outsourced NHS staff at Southwark hospital over pay date changes

Josh Salisbury (10 April, 2019) Health

The changes mean some of the hospital's lowest paid staff could be waiting a week longer for their monthly pay

23054Maudsley Hospital, Camberwell

A union has asked permission to set up a food bank for outsourced staff at a Southwark NHS Trust in a row over pay date changes.

The staff are employed by ISS, which holds a variety of portering, cleaning and security contracts across three hospitals in south London including at South London and the Maudsley NHS Trust (SLaM).

A new fortnightly pay cycle beginning May 9 will mean staff will wait up to a week longer for their pay than they do normally.

ISS told the News it would offer interest-free loans to staff that may struggle during the first month, and that it would not withhold any money payable to its employees.

It added that it “strongly believes” the changes would benefit employees as it would give more clarity on what and when wages would be paid.

However, Helen O’Connor, GMB regional organizer, accused the company of treating its members like “second class NHS workers.”

“It is beyond belief that low paid workers can be expected to pay back loans in excess of £300 a month of their own wages so that a multi-million-pound global company like ISS can change their pay cycles,” she said.

The News has also contacted UNISON union which also has a branch at the Trust for comment regarding the payroll changes for ISS staff.

A letter sent to the South London and Maudsley Trust CEO by the GMB’s organisation officer, Mick Butler, called on the Trust to set up hardship payments for ISS staff – and if not, to allow a food bank to be set up in the Trust’s hospitals.

A Trust spokesperson declined to say whether it would allow a food bank to be set up and said: “We are speaking to ISS to understand the impact on staff employed by ISS and to see how the trust can best support them.”

GMB has pledged to organise a day of action over the move in south London hospitals on Thursday, April 11 over the changes, but the protest is not expected to take place at South London and the Maudsley.

In a lengthy statement, an ISS spokesperson said it was aware the first month would see staff waiting longer for pay but that the changes were necessary.

“We appreciate the concern employees may have. We are therefore offering all impacted employees interest-free loans to help smooth the wait and to ensure that individuals have the financial support they need,” the spokesperson said.

“Whilst we are aware that the employees will be embarking upon change, we are providing a full range of support to ease their concerns and any impacts of the change, and we continue to provide opportunities for employees to discuss any issues with us.”

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