Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union, is spearheading a demo tomorrow (Friday 5 April 2019) to protest against cleaning contractor ISS’ plans to withhold pay from low-paid hospital staff at the Royal Liverpool Hospital and Broadgreen Hospital.

ISS, Europe’s largest commercial provider of cleaning and one of the world’s largest providers of facility services, is moving staff from weekly pay to fortnightly pay and changing pay dates after introducing a new payroll system.

This will mean that hospital staff, mainly women, will have to wait nearly three weeks after their last pay date to receive only two weeks wages. A week’s pay will be withheld and paid to workers when they leave the company – so in reality they are losing a week’s pay.

Unite, which represents 250 workers across both hospitals, is angry over the poor consultation with unions and feels it has been misled by ISS over the length of time that staff will have to wait to be paid and there was no mention of holding a week’s pay back.

Unite regional officer Derek Jones said: “When ISS met nationally with the unions earlier this year it claimed that staff would only be waiting a few extra days for wages due to the changes. What was not made clear was that in reality this would mean waiting nearly three weeks before staff got paid and to receive only two week’s wages.

“This group of workers are the lowest paid at the trust. Many are lone parents and live pay packet to pay packet. Any disruption to their finances will have a huge adverse impact on them and their families.

“Clearly this is not understood by ISS which makes millions of pounds profit every year in the UK alone by paying these workers the minimum wage.

“At the end of December 2018, ISS Mediclean Limited, a subsidiary of ISS UK Limited, had an annual turnover of £413 million with a gross profit of £61 million. ISS is treating its workers, who bring the company these enormous profits, disgracefully.

“The amount of interest being earned by ISS on these held back wages must be phenomenal and shows the greed of the company when it’s already making significant profits on the backs of its mainly female workforce.

“Our members are extremely angry and we will be lodging over 180 individual grievances with ISS. Please show your support for these low-paid, unpaid hospital staff in their struggle by joining our protest on Friday outside the Royal Hospital from 13.00 to 15.00.”

Unite is calling on ISS management to reconsider its proposals and find a solution that does not leave our members financially worse off, or in a position where any bridging loan would require extortionate repayments.


Notes to editors:

For more information please contact Derek Jones on 07718 668 489 and/or Unite communications officer Karen Viquerat on 0151 559 2004 or 07768 931 316. Unite press office is on 020 3371 2065.