Strike hits Liverpool Women’s Hospital

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Staff at Liverpool Women’s Hospital went on strike this week after a 100% vote for action from UNISON members.

Staff from Liverpool Women’s Hospital on strike Pic © Chloe Tomkins JMU Journalism

More than 40 cleaners, catering workers, porters and security officers at the hospital walked out on Monday, complaining that private company OCS refuses to pay them the NHS rate for the job.

In the formal ballot organised by UNISON, all of its affected members voted in favour of taking strike action.

The lowest agreed pay rate for a worker in the NHS is £8.93 per hour, but UNISON, the union that represents OCS staff, says they are paid considerably less than this, with some only receiving the minimum legal hourly wage rate of £7.83.

They are claiming that staff are under-earning by up to £2,150 this year alone.

“Until OCS do this we will continue strike action in the future. They are morally bankrupt and it is about time this came to an end.”

Maria Moss, Regional Organiser from UNISON, told JMU Journalism: “Global company OCS, that can afford to pay its workers, is refusing to pay just a pound more to match what NHS workers receive doing exactly the same jobs.

Staff on the picket line received moral support from the public, as motorists beeped their horns as they drove the past.

UNISON members on strike over unfair pay. Pic © Chloe Tomkins JMU Journalism

Stephanie Mahoney works as a domestic at Liverpool Women’s Hospital and is paid the minimum wage of £7.83 an hour. She said: “It’s a real struggle to cope on the wage that I’m on. I’m a single parent and I need to keep a roof over my son’s head.

“Gas and food bills keep going up for everyone but it’s harder for us to make ends meet. I sometimes work alongside colleagues who are paid £9 an hour, but we’re doing the same work. Colleagues are very supportive of us taking action to get this sorted out because they don’t think it’s right that we’re on lower pay than them.

“I’ve never been on strike before but I can’t see how else this is ever going to change. We’re all sticking together.”

JMU Journalism approached OCS for comment but did not receive a response.

About Chloe Tomkins, JMU Journalism