HUNDREDS of contracted cleaners, porters and domestic staff and other trade union members marched through the town centre ahead of another strike over alleged bullying at the Great Western Hospital.

More than 800 members of the GMB union, Unite, Unison and fire fighters from the Wiltshire Brigade took part in the march on Saturday, which culminated in a rally in Wharf Green.

It came just before a seven-day strike by 130 people contracted to work at Great Western Hospital by Carillion, who allege they are victims of bullying and unfair holiday systems.

And hundreds of trade union members turned out in force to march beside them in support at the weekend.

Andy Newman, Swindon’s GMB branch secretary, addressed the rally and said: “I hear you chanting ‘we will win’, you are already winning.

“One of the ways we can tell you are winning is the change in you. When I first met many of you three or four months ago you were nervous, you were scared.

“Now you are some of the strongest people I have met.

“You say ‘we want respect at work’ and you will win respect from Carillion. You have already won the respect of yourselves and the GMB. Every single member of the GMB is 100 per cent behind you.

“We are already putting so much pressure on Carillion as a company. You have delivered a strike, you have shown Carillion you can fight like no other workers.

“You have hit them hard and that means you will win because you are hitting them with industrial action “You must be confident the GMB will stand with you and we will not walk away from your fight until you have won. You are not on strike for an extra penny, you are on strike for respect.”

Workers have already staged 11 days of strikes.

National GMB officer Justin Bowden told the crowd: “You are becoming a shining light to working people all over Britain as to what can be done if people stand up to bullies and people who think they know better.”

The crowd also heard from Labour opposition MP for Swindon South, Anne Snelgrove, who said she was ashamed that the dispute had reached this point and that it should have been over months ago.

A Carillion spokesman said: “We take matters of bullying and harassment extremely seriously and in line with our policies and procedures the collective grievance is being fully investigated.”