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11 September 2003

Ancillary staff set to strike at Hairmyres Hospital

Some 250 UNISON members (porters, domestics, catering assistants) who provide essential support services at Hairmyers Hospital voted unanimously at meetings today to launch an industrial action ballot in a dispute over pay.

ISS Mediclean Ltd the PFI company who run these services at Hairmyres Hospital remain the only employer in NHS Scotland not to introduce pay rates agreed between UNISON and NHS Scotland in March 2003.

ISS pay Operatives £5.00, compared to the "Scottish" rate of £5.18; and Supervisors £5.53, rather than £5.81. ISS also provide inferior terms and conditions to those for other NHS employees.

Lillian Macer, UNISON Branch Secretary, said: "Low paid workers are being forced into this position due to the failure of a commercial company to surrender any of its profit margin to honour an agreement which applies everywhere else in NHS Scotland."

John Gallacher, UNISON Regional Officer, said: "This is another example that shows the introduction of the profit motive is damaging to the provision of public services. Sadly, patients are suffering because of commercial considerations."

Diane McAnsh, UNISON Senior Steward at Hairmyres Hospital said "UNISON has been trying to reach a negotiated settlement with ISS Ltd on this since March 2002. Members' patience has finally run out."


For Further Information Please Contact:
Lilian Macer Branch Secretary m: 07986 255 956
John Gallacher, Regional Officer m: 07930 939 520 or office 0845 355 0845
Diane McAnsh Senior Steward: 01355 585 805