Security staff at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading, locked in a ‘David and Goliath’ pay battle with their employer, will be striking over 20 days during January and February.

The 23 security guards are striking from 07.00 on Monday 4 January over the failure of their employer Kingdom Services Group Ltd to make a decent pay offer for 2020. Their strike action will end at 19.00 on Friday 12 February.

They have already taken five days of strike action which ended on Friday (18 December).

The security personnel, members of Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union, provide security for Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust.

Unite condemned the employer for using agency staff to undermine the strike, which, the union says, is legally questionable during industrial action.

The lowly-paid security guards have voted unanimously to take strike action against Kingdom Services Group, a major corporate service provider with a £100 million plus turnover.

Unite regional officer Jesika Parmar said: “Our members will continue their ‘David and Goliath’ struggle in the new year with strike action over 20 days in January and February.

“Our members are seeking a modest pay increase to £12 an hour for security officers and £13.00 an hour for security supervisors, but standing in the way of this reasonable demand for a living wage is a management which is part of a global organisation with a £100 million turnover.

“Our lowly-paid members provide security 24/7 at the Royal Berkshire Hospital which is on the Covid-19 frontline. However, the company continues to refuse to engage in meaningful talks over the 2020 pay award and other issues, such as harmonisation of sick pay, and enhanced pay for working nights, weekends and overtime.

“Our members were very reluctant to take industrial action during a national crisis, but strongly felt that the bosses were using coronavirus as an excuse to drive down pay and employment conditions which is totally unacceptable.

“We strongly deplore the action by Kingdom Services Group for its involvement in using agency staff to undermine a legitimate industrial dispute which we are legally challenging.

“Such action will cause reputational damage to the company and, indirectly, to the bosses of the trust who are presiding over this outsourced culture.

“We would like to thank the people of Reading for the great support that they have given to our members – it has been a real Christmas tonic that is deeply appreciated.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

The exact times of the strike action are:

  • from 07:00  on 4 January 2021 until 19.00 on 8 January
  • from 07:00  on 11 January until 19.00 on 15 January
  • from 07:00  on 1 February  until  19.00 on 5 February
  • from 07:00 on 8 February  until 19.00 on 12 February

The company’s website states: ‘Kingdom is one of the largest, independent and privately owned companies specialising in security solutions, facilities management, environmental protection and recruitment within the UK, Ireland and South Asia. We operate on a £100 million+ turnover.’

For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Unite press office is on:  020 3371 2065.

Please note the numbers above are for journalists’ enquiries only.

Email: shaun.noble@unitetheunion.org

Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1 Web: unitetheunion.org 

Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.