Striking Doncaster hospital workers celebrate after pay rise victory

Hospital workers in Doncaster are celebrating a strike victory after industrial action saw them win a wage rise.

By Darren Burke
Friday, 03 May, 2019, 15:58

Striking NHS catering workers at Doncaster Royal Infirmary and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust have been awarded a pay rise after a £1.2 billion outsourcing giant agreed to their demands.

The low-paid workers – mainly women working in the kitchens at Doncaster Royal Infirmary and Worksop’s Bassetlaw Hospital – had been on strike since May 1 after French company Sodexo refused to match the pay rise other members of staff across the hospitals have received.

Striking workers at Doncaster Royal Infirmary.

But today, Sodexo bosses agreed to pay the award in full and backdate it to April last year.

The agreement is a big win for the joint union effort between GMB and Unison.

Sodexo made £65 million in profits in the year to August 2018 – and their directors trousered more than £5 million

In the year to August 2017, the company coughed up £21million to shareholders.

Stacey Booth, Regional Organiser, said: “Sodexo underestimated the strength of feeling amongst their workers.

“Members were adamant until they received a promise the company would pay up the action would continue.

“Today, their persistence has paid off and we are pleased to announce that Sodexo have agreed in conjunction with the trust to pay the award in full and backdated.  

“It’s a yes from us – and now our members can get back to work and get porridge back on the hospital menus.

“This is a fantastic win for members but one they should never have had to fight.

“This sends a strong message GMB will not lie down in the face of corporate greed.

“We hope that the relationship with Sodexo will be much more constructive going forward.”

UNISON regional organiser Sue Cookman said: "We need to agree some finer details with Sodexo, but I am delighted that an agreement has been reached.

"This is down to the sheer determination of these workers and shows what can be achieved when they stand together to fight for what they are owed.

"The energy and enthusiasm on the picket lines at Montagu and Bassetlaw hospitals, and Doncaster Royal Infirmary has been amazing, and the support from the public has been heartwarming.

“These are NHS workers through and through, and their commitment to the NHS is unwavering, no matter who employs them.

"The government needs to properly fund the NHS pay deal for all health service workers, including those who have been outsourced."