WORKFORCE:  The GMB is to consult its members over proposals to resolve a dispute with Sodexo regarding its facilities contract at Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals Trust.

The union has suspended its industrial action ballot as a result.

The two sides issued a joint statement on 10 January, noting that following negotiations in London a proposal had been made to resolve the dispute, which will now be put to staff on site.

The company won a £15m contract in December to expand the range of services it provides at the trust.

The dispute centered around planned redundancies on the contract and the company’s difficulties in paying staff properly. Cleaners, porters, housekeepers and caterers are affected.

The proposal to resolve the dispute includes a commitment to ensuring any pay queries are immediately resolved and that all affected employees will receive an additional annual leave allowance to compensate them for the problems they have encountered.

In addition, it includes a commitment to actively seek voluntary redundancies before any compulsory redundancies are made and a further reduction in the maximum number of compulsory redundancies that could be made.

GMB organiser Gary Palmer said: “This has been an extremely stressful time for staff on site but we are hopeful that a way forward has been found.”

Greg Austin, HR director Sodexo, added: “We recognise that this is a difficult time for our employees and our focus is on resolving the issues as quickly as possible and ensuring that patient care is not affected.”