Branch Secretary :

Barts Strike: Low paid workers two week action

Pressure on Serco


Pressure is growing on the private contractor Serco as hundreds of low paid workers at Barts Health NHS Trust prepare for a two week strike from Tuesday 25 July in their continuing fight against low pay.



The workers want a 30p/ hour increase and have raised serious questions about staffing levels and lack of resources undermining safety.


Workers have already held a 48 hour strike from Tuesday 4 July and took seven days of action from Tuesday 11 July.  See the interview with Unite branch secretary Len Hockey here.



Workers will now begin a 14 day strike and further strike action will also be planned for August and September unless Serco comes forward with a reasonable offer for the entire workforce.


Serco have a record of scandals surrounding government contracts they have won, notably failing in housing provision for asylum seekers. They have been circling the housing sector, before the dispute leading to a successful strike in St Mungos the new CEO spoke of his keenness to work with commercial providers such as Serco for example.


CEO paid just under £2 million per year


Serco, a £3bn multinational which makes its money from public sector contracts, has a reputation for mismanagement. In 2015, it repeatedly failed to pay teachers and public sector workers from a Lincolnshire County Council payroll it was supposed to be managing, and the following year it was exposed for allowing managers to run a fight club of inmates at New Zealand’s Mount Eden Prison.  The CEO is paid just under £2 million per year.


As a branch we have donated to the hardship fund but there is more we can do. 

* Raise the issue with people you work with. 

* Collect some money for the strikers – there is a collection sheet here

* Publicise the strike on social media.

* Visit the picket lines at Barts, The Royal London, Mile End and Whipps Cross hospital.

by sending this letter to Barts Trust CEO Alwen Williams:

Automatic email sender here

Chief Executive:; @A_WilliamsNHS; @NHSBartsHealth ‏; 020 7092 5375

CC: Len Hockey, Secretary of Unite across all Bart's Health hospitals: and Linda Taaffe, secretary of Waltham Forest Trades Council,

Serco's email:

Dear Ms Williams, Chief Executive of the Barts Trust,

RE: request for you to intervene on behalf of low-paid workers immediately

I am writing to appeal to you to call on private contractor Serco to bring the current strike by porters, domestics, security and catering staff to an end by immediately meeting the modest demands of Unite the Union.

The union is calling for a 30p an hour pay rise for low-paid workers who are vital to the hospitals. It is unacceptable that workers playing such vital roles are forced to strike for such a modest pay rise. Supporters around the world are shocked that the biggest health trust in Britain relies for the safe-running of its hospitals on contracted workers on such low pay rates.

Last year Serco made a profit of £82 million. There is no question of them not being able to afford this modest pay rise.

The Trust aims to provide "safe and compassionate care to our patients". It is clear to us that this is impossible while Serco is showing no compassion to the low-paid staff struggling to provide these services while unable to live on the poverty pay rates.

On your website you say that you have "been working closely with our partner Serco to ensure that we have robust contingency plans in place to keep our services running and our patients safe during this time." But the strike is showing how important the role these workers play is in keeping the hospitals clean and in making sure everything is where it needs to be when it needs to be there. It is clear to hospital visitors and staff that no such plans are in place and that Serco is not fit to run our health services.

We urge you to please act immediately to bring Serco to the table with Unite to end this strike by alleviating the plight of low-paid workers. We will not desist from campaigning to back these workers.

Yours sincerely,

[insert Your Name]:


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