ISS Strikers. Photo: Socialist Party
ISS Strikers. Photo: Socialist Party

Steve Bell, Unison Health SGE, personal capacity

Over 40 ISS-employed health support staff at Prospect Park Hospital in Reading picketed their workplace on 29 February. Their strike is over the employer’s failure to pay the £1,600 lump sum that has been awarded to most staff nationally on NHS terms and conditions.

Pat Kenny, a Unison regional organiser, told supporters that ISS had received the payment for the lump sum from the NHS, but were refusing to give it to the workforce!

He also reported that ISS management was trying to get staff from other sites to cover the strike, but struggled to find them, resulting in management having to undertake the work normally done by the striking staff.

The workers were striking initially for three days and then plan for another two day strike. But they fear that the intransigence of ISS management may mean they have to take further action. However, they are a determined and solid union group, having seen their membership grow from a minority of the workforce into a majority because of how they have been treated.

I addressed the rally and gave solidarity greetings, and pledged to raise the profile of the strike not only in the region, as the Unison branch secretary for a neighbouring county NHS branch, but also at Unison’s national Health Service Group Executive. I pointed out that this multinational company makes millions out of the NHS from predominantly the lowest-paid staff, and yet won’t pay staff what they are owed. That is a reason why we should bring all the contracted firms like ISS back into the NHS, so that all NHS staff receive the pay recognition they deserve.

  • Unite members at Barts NHS Trust and in Dudley are fighting over the same issue. Workers in East Kent just scored a victory on this issue when their Trust agreed to pay the lump sum