Talks aimed at averting fresh strikes by hospital cleaners, caterers and other staff in a row over claims of bullying and harassment, will be held today.

Members of the GMB union at Swindon’s Great Western Hospital, employed by private contractor Carillion, staged a 24 hour walkout last week and are due to strike again on Tuesday and Thursday.

The GMB union said it had submitted a formal complaint on behalf of more than 100 members of staff over claims of a culture of bullying, and has a £100,000 strike fund available.

A spokesman for Carillion said the firm was “very disappointed” with the strikes, adding: “The matters that have been raised are still currently being investigated in line with our policies and procedures.

“The investigation has been a lengthy process and at all times we have sought to accommodate the GMB and its members.

“It is unfortunate that a decision to strike has been taken ahead of the conclusion of that investigation.

“Carillion has had many years of excellent employee relations with its staff at the hospital which we have always sought to continue.”

The firm said it had “robust contingency plans” in place to deal with industrial action.