Health workers employed by private company vote to strike over pay and holidays

Health workers employed by a private company have voted to strike in a dispute over pay and holidays.

Unison said its members working for OCS at Lancashire & South Cumbria NHS Trust, including porters, caterers and cleaners, had overwhelmingly backed action.

The 50 staff work for the healthcare facilities firm at eight NHS sites across Lancashire. They are asking for the same sick pay and annual holiday as staff directly employed by the NHS.

Dale Ollier, Unison’s North West regional organiser, said: “OCS staff should be paid in full when poorly, receive the same as NHS colleagues for night or weekend work and be allowed to take the same amount of holiday.

“No one wants services to be disrupted but OCS and trust bosses have been ignoring these workers for more than a year. Employees doing similar jobs should be treated the same, regardless of who they work for.

“Retail, hospitality and online distribution firms are now paying better rates to attract and keep the staff they need. OCS will struggle to hold on to its staff if it continues to treat them so shabbily.

“The healthcare sector is already struggling to fill vacancies. Failing to resolve this dispute will see staff vacancy rates rise and that will have an impact on patient care.”

Copyright (c) PA Media Ltd. 2022, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Nick Ansell / PA.