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9 November 2017

Serco - not fit for purpose

Paula Mitchell

So Serco - the private company making big profits from low pay of cleaners and porters in Barts NHS Trust - is exposed in the Paradise Papers.

According to the Guardian, the law firm at the centre of the Paradise Papers scandal, Appleby, regarded Serco as "a high-risk client" with a "history of problems, failures, fatal errors and overcharging".

These include allegations of fraud, the cover-up of abuse, and mishandling radioactive waste.

Readers of the Socialist know Serco well because heroic workers providing essential cleaning, portering and catering services for Barts Trust had no choice but to take 24 days of bold strike action in the summer, just to force Serco to talk about low pay and overwork.

This company has declared its intention to move away from private sector contracts and into public services. It is an utter disgrace that a company like this has contracts to run detention centres, prisons and essential healthcare services.

People like this should be in prison, not profiting from running them. Get them out of our hospitals and well away from vulnerable asylum seekers!

Sack Serco!

As a result of the Barts strike, a deal was won which broke through the separation of workers on the 'legacy' NHS contracts from workers on the new even-lower-paid contracts.

They are now all in the same bargaining unit and able to fight together in new pay talks which are about to start.

They also won a one-off payment - not everything that was wanted, but workers have emerged stronger, more organised, more confident, and with a new leadership, alongside branch secretary Len Hockey.

But outrageously, this - according to the Paradise Papers investigation, highly dodgy - company has refused to pay the money so far! They blame Unison, the minority union, whose leaders played an undermining role during the dispute, for not yet accepting the deal.

Serco should stop hiding behind Unison - pay up now!

But how can Barts Health Trust continue with this contract? Take these essential services back in-house immediately! Kick all the private profiteers out of the NHS!