300 'furious' Nottinghamshire hospital workers launch week-long strike

Medirest workers pictured on the picket line outside King's Mill Hospital in Sutton-in-Ashfield in May
-Credit: (Image: Joseph Raynor/ Nottingham Post)

Hundreds of 'furious' workers employed by a private contractor across three Nottinghamshire hospitals have begun an almost week-long strike. Nearly 300 staff employed by Medirest at Sherwood Forest Hospitals (SFH) will strike between 6am on Monday, July 8, and 6am on Saturday, July 13.

The staff, who work across King's Mill, Newark and Mansfield Community hospitals, include porters, cleaners, security staff, catering workers and reception teams. The GMB Union said the action was due to company bosses refusing to keep terms and conditions in line with colleagues employed directly by the NHS.

Organiser Cameron Mitchell said the action "must be a wake-up call". He added: “This strike goes some way to showing just how angry these key workers are.

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"More and more people are looking at Medirest and wondering why [they] won't do right by their staff who patients rely on day in, day out." Staff previously went on strike for two separate periods throughout May.

A coronavirus bonus payment received by NHS employees was the breaking point for staff employed by Medirest, GMB previously said, as some did not get any bonus for their work through the pandemic.

A Medirest spokesperson previously said: “We are disappointed with GMB’s decision to proceed with further industrial action. We highly value the work of our all our people.

“All our employees received a separate pay uplift last year and have access to a range of employee benefits. The eligibility criteria for the Covid bonus payment is in the hands of the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).

“While we are pleased that some of our employees have been identified as eligible and are due to receive the bonus payment imminently, we recognise it is disappointing for those who do not meet the Government’s eligibility criteria.

“We continue to maintain a regular dialogue with our people, the Unions, and NHS Trusts. In partnership with the Trust, we have put in place contingency measures to limit any disruption to services for patients.”