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Posted on 1 February 2011 at 16:09 GMT

Medirest workers' anger grows

A strike on 31 January, the third by Medirest cleaners at Southampton general hospital, was to provide a mass welcoming committee to members of the Trust board meeting. On 1 February there was a strike in Aylesbury to coincide with a meeting of the Trust board there.

Steve Bell, Unison branch secretary in Aylesbury said: "Medirest workers remain solid and the support they have received from around the country is tremendous. Workers are receiving regular invitations to speak around the country to talk about their dispute. This strike is having an impact and we hope that Medirest and the Trust recognise the determination of their workforce and look forward to a time when a settlement can be reached."

Workers are owed thousands of pounds in unpaid wages and sick pay. Medirest, part of the Compass group, say they have no money but made 700 million profit last year!

Unison has now recruited 98% of the workforce, supervisors are now joining. These low paid workers have been treated appallingly, many claim benefits to make ends meet. Now out on strike, confidence and determination has grown to get what is theirs and end the years of disrespect.

Strikers told us: "We used to get a Mars bar if we got 100% audit for our work! Can you believe that? Now they don't give us anything because there's no money."

There were expectations that the board would listen to the grievances and respond positively but there was clear anger and frustration that they had only been given three minutes for a union official to speak, with none of the strikers allowed to say anything. One steward said it was time to escalate the action.

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