GMB call for London hospital cleaning staff to be brought back in-house

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NHS staff and communities outraged as London hospital cleaners denied sick pay

It’s simply wrong that these outsourcing giants are making a profit from taxpayer’s money, off the backs of hardworking hospital staff, says GMB London

Low paid GMB members working for facility services companies ISS at Chelsea and Westminster and Homerton hospitals will say ‘all they want for want for Christmas is to be back in-house’ at protests outside the hospitals on Monday 16th December and Tuesday 17th December.

ISS staff at the London hospitals are not given paid sick pay for the first three days of illness, meaning staff are forced to work even when they are ill. The company also refuses to pay anything other than government minimum of £94.25/week (£3.43/hr for full-time workers) to staff who’ve worked in the hospital for years.

On Tuesday 17th December GMB members will be joined by the Mayor of Hackney, Civil Society Leaders and supporters for a photo opportunity as they deliver a Christmas Card signed by over 100 members of staff across the Trust, who have a combined 2,000 years of service, asking the CEO to intervene and bring them back ‘in-house’.


Details of the photocall are as follows:


Tuesday 17th December




Homerton Hospital

Homerton Row



E9 6SR


Jenny, a domestic worker, with 20 years’ service said: 

“When you work in a hospital, you’re more likely to get ill as you’re more exposed. This makes it even more unjust that our pay is docked if we have to take a day off ill.

“My colleagues and I can’t afford to lose 3 day’s work so we’re forced to struggle on and keep coming in. We work hard to give the best for our patients and we love our jobs but it’s just not right that we don’t get sick pay.

“Today we ask the Hospital Executives to bring us back in-house and give everyone who works in public health the same terms and conditions.”

Lola McEvoy, GMB London Organiser said: 

“It’s simply wrong that these outsourcing giants are making a profit from taxpayer’s money, off the backs of hardworking hospital staff. These people are the backbone of any hospital and go above and beyond for patients. They deserve to be paid the same sick pay as those directly employed by the NHS.

“This is yet another example of the privatisation of our National Health Service and we must fight for them to be back in-house so they receive the same terms and conditions as their directly employed colleagues. 

Jonathan Ashworth, Shadow Secretary of State for Health said: 

“It is shocking that people working in public health should be robbed of basic workers’ rights, like sick pay from day one. This issue illustrates the difference between a Labour Gov and a Conservative one perfectly. The Tories have sold out our hard-working NHS porters and cleaners who fulfil a vital role in the running of our NHS. Labour would bring all of these people back in-house giving the decent sick pay like everyone else who works for the service.

Philip Glanville, Labour and Cooperative directly elected Mayor of Hackney said: 

“Hard-working doctors and nurses are not the only staff that help make our vital NHS services work. Security that keep healthcare staff safe and cleaners that keep our hospitals clean all contribute to the service NHS hospitals like the Homerton do for our community. But often their contribution goes completely unrecognised.

“From sick pay and payroll mistakes, to strict clock-in times and holiday pay issues – staff on the ISS contract at the Homerton deserve a fairer deal. I have heard some shocking stories from staff thanks to the hard work of the GMB Union. Staff on the frontlines of our health service particularly deserve good terms and conditions if they are off sick, and yet facilities management staff get a 68% pay cut for every week they are off sick.

“Next year, the ISS Facilities Management contract is up for renewal. Thanks to Hackney Labour, the Council has a good record of in-sourcing its own services like Waste and Recycling, ICT, and Building Maintenance. We are ready to help the Homerton go on the same journey, which is why I am joining the GMB in the fight for a fairer deal for these workers, and have written to the Homerton Chief Executive to take the opportunity to press ISS for better terms and conditions when renegotiating the contract, or even better, in-source the service entirely.”

Vicar of St John’s Hoxton, a leader for Hackney Citizens, a broad-based alliance who represent over 10,000 London residents said: 

“It’s simply wrong that staff service our community are going without paid sick leave. As an anchor institution that employs and treats our members, we ask Homerton Hospital Leadership to bring the cleaners, security and catering staff back in house.

“We believe that everyone who works for our NHS should receive the same terms and conditions and are shocked to discover that some of the lowest paid staff have been denied these basic indicators of a good employer.

“Staff deserve, a London Living Wage, Full sick pay from day 1 and Living Hours. These measures are the benchmark for decent employment and for those providing such a vital service it should be the best we can do.”




Contact: Lola McEvoy 07967 440297 or GMB London Press Office 07970 114762


Notes to Editors

Staff working on the ISS contract at Chelsea and Westminster and at Homerton Hospital are only entitled to statutory sick pay. This means they receive no pay for the first three days that they’re off sick, after the first three days they’re entitled to £94.25 – a 68% pay cut for full time staff earning the London Living Wage.

 The contract for the facilities management staff at Homerton Hospital is up for renewal in April 2020 and in Chelsea and Westminster in Jan 2022.