GMB demands reinstatement of Watford General Hospital porter suspended for rolling up trouser legs
GMB demands reinstatement of Watford General Hospital porter suspended for rolling up trouser legsThis is no laughing matter for Michael, he is concerned about losing his job, but if it will highlight the absurdity of the situation then we will ensue that on the next hot day our members will be wearing skirts to keep cool says GMB London
A GMB union hospital porter working at Watford General Hospital is still suspended pending disciplinary investigations because he rolled up his black polyester work trousers during the hottest day of the year.
Last week, Wednesday 21 June 2017, the hottest June day in 40 years, while at work pulling heavy hospital equipment, hospital porter Michael Wood rolled up his trousers to help him cool off while he worked. [see notes to editors for previous press release on the suspension]
His bosses, Medirest Compass, a multinational private company who provide porters and cleaners to Watford Hospital, suspended Michael because he was not wearing his uniform correctly.
GMB said that they would advise their members to wear skirts to work when it was too hot.
Anger hit a new pitch among the minimum wage Medirest staff because of what is considered a case of bullying because Michael is a union safety representative.
Medirest now say that the reason for Michael's suspension is because he breached a health and safety rule. Initially it was understood to be because Michael did not look good with rolled up trousers.
Michael Wood is a local Watford man, a father of two with four years service and, until now, he had a no fault disciplinary record.
Michael Dooley GMB local representative said:
"We held a meeting yesterday evening which was well attended and we sampled what will be in store for Watford General Hospital unless Michael is reinstated. A group of porters showed us how they would look in skirts.
"At the end of the day this is no laughing matter for Michael, he is concerned about losing his job, but if it will highlight the absurdity of the situation then we will ensue that on the next hot day our members will be wearing skirts in Watford General Hospital to keep cool.”
One of the hospital porters said:
"At least we will be cool, Medirest could provide us with lighter uniforms during the hot weather. It is ok for the managers, they are in sitting air conditioned offices."
Contact: Michael Dooley on 0208 202 2893 or 0777 306 1798
Photographs of the group of porters dressed in skirts available on request on 0208 457 4143
Watford General Hospital Chief Executives office: Katie Fisher on 01923 436 280,
Medirest contact: Velda Ismay, Operations Manager Watford Hospital,
Notes to editors:
1) GMB press release 22 June 2017
WATFORD HOSPITAL WORKER SUSPENDED FOR ROLLING TROUSERS UP ON THE HOTTEST DAY OF THE YEAR.
The suspended worker has been treated unfairly in our view and should be reinstated immediately and a sensible resolution should be brought about says GMB London
Hospital workers in Watford General hospital who asked their managers for permission to wear three quarter length trousers because of the intense heat were told to keep wearing their normal black combat trousers. Yesterday, 21st June 2017, a worker was suspended from work for rolling his trousers up, disciplinary action is now pending.
Private contractor Medirest, a multinational company who supply porters and cleaners to Watford General Hospital, suspended a GMB union safety representative following a disagreement about the wearing of combat style black trousers and what the union say ware inadequate provisions for workers during the intense heat wave.
The safety representative, Michael Wood, was suspended from work when he refused to roll down his trousers during the hot weather. Following a disagreement over working in excessive temperatures, Mr Wood and many of his colleagues who are hospital porters started to roll up their trousers when they were hot.
There is no legislation in place for working in hot temperature and the guidelines only require an employer to act reasonably. Medirest have distributed instructions on where to get a drink of water in the hospital. However, the union feel that more rest breaks, bottled water and shorter three quarter length trousers would assist the workers working in temperatures of more than 30 degrees.
Instead of providing shorter or lighter trousers Medirest insisted that the normal black cotton fabric combat trousers must be worn. This hard line approach to workers safety follows in a series of industrial relations problems with Medirest at Watford General. Recently two workers were suspended for five weeks for refusing to work in a dangerous way with unsafe equipment.
Michael Dooley GMB local representative said:
“The porters, who are paid minimum wage, are expected to continue working as normal in the searing heat whilst managers sit in air conditioned offices. Because of the unusually high temperatures, the NHS managers in Watford General have adopted a reasonable approach towards their workforce. However, Medirest consider suspending safety reps is the preferred option, this of course intimidates other workers into submission to ensure compliance. The spirit of good will and cooperation seems to have died in Watford General hospital.
“Many workers are fasting for their religious observance and the excessive heat will no doubt compound their hardship. Mr Wood has been treated unfairly in our view and should be reinstated immediately and a sensible resolution should be brought about.”