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Day of protest by union over job cuts
MEMBERS of the GMB union representing cleaning staff at Great Western Hospital employed by Carillion staged a protest yesterday against redundancies and cuts to working hours.
The union claims they were not consulted before the proposals, which they say will lead to 20 job losses and an average of £650 a year lost earnings for the remaining staff.
A workplace ballot found 99.2 per cent of members opposed the changes.
The new arrangements introduce 12-hour shifts with a one-hour, unpaid break in the middle, which causes problems for staff with childcare commitments, or second jobs.
Carillion says the move to standardise contracts would allow workers to increase their hours on a permanent basis, and say the changes would improve efficiency of housekeeping at GWH.
Paulo Fernandes, 54, a housekeeper at GWH employed by Carillion, said: “They have introduced these changes without consulting us, and it will greatly affect the flexibility of hours. Many people cannot afford childcare and have to collect their children from school, but we are being made to work hours which conflict with that, and we do not get a say.
“We also think it conflicts with health and safety, because when we work 12-hour shifts it is impossible to do a cleaning job.”
In 2012 there were 21 days of strike action by workers in protest against discrimination by Carillion at the hospital. This has so far resulted in 57 cases filed against Carillion in the employment tribunal.
Carole Vallelly, GMB organiser, said “There will be fewer cleaners per ward, and those cleaners will have fewer hours to maintain the cleaning standards on those wards.
“Carillion is seeking to get the same amount of cleaning done with fewer staff, and longer shifts will inevitably lead to a reduction of work quality.”
A spokesman for Carillion said: “Carillion is working with the (NHS) Trust to deliver significant cost savings by 2014. “As a consequence, consultation about the possible reorganisation of housekeeping at GWH was announced to Carillion staff and recognised trade unions, UNISON and Unite, on August 19. Consultation is ongoing and we are continuing to listen to the views of our people.”
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