• Staff outsourced to Sodexo at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals FT to strike 
  • Sodexo has not matched Agenda for Change pay rise
  • Unison says outsourced staff are being short-changed

Catering staff employed by private company Sodexo at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals FT will go on strike next week in a dispute over pay.

Unison has said facilities management company Sodexo is “refusing to give its workers the same pay rise as that agreed last year for health staff employed by the NHS”.

Sodexo employees will strike on 1 May with 11 further dates planned throughout the month. 

Around 70 members of staff, predominantly women, were transferred from the trust to the private company in January 2017.

The government promised last year to fund the pay rise deal agreed for Agenda for Change, which covers more than one million NHS employees. 

Sue Cookman, Unison Yorkshire and Humberside regional organiser, said: “The lowest paid workers in the NHS were given a £2,000 pay rise last year, as part of a three-year deal negotiated by health unions. But the overwhelming majority of health staff employed on private contracts have not received a penny.”

“Doncaster workers are striking as a last resort because Sodexo has refused to honour the national agreement,” Ms Cookman said. “The company plans to bring in other staff to cover the strike days, using funds which would be put to better use simply paying these catering workers fairly.”

Sara Gorton, Unison head of health, told HSJ those working in the NHS for private contractors are earning “significantly less than the colleagues they work alongside”.

“As ministers struggle to find a solution to Brexit, they appear to have forgotten about the growing problems of recruitment and retention across the NHS. The cash must be found to give these hardworking outsourced staff a long-overdue pay rise and ensure the NHS has enough staff to run its services well,” Ms Gorton said. 

She said Unison would campaign across the country over the coming months to ensure outsourced staff are “no longer short-changed”.