First day of strike at Bassetlaw Hospital was ‘hugely successful’

Catering staff are striking over pay at Bassetlaw Hospital
Catering staff are striking over pay at Bassetlaw Hospital

More than 70 Sodexo workers at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals NHS Trust are striking in a dispute about their pay.

Twelve strike days, the first of which today (Wednesday, May 1), have been announced throughout May, after union members voted 100 per cent in favour of industrial action.

The staff, mostly women, provide catering and retail service across the trust.

They transferred to Sodexo in January 2018.

Sodexo has refused to pay the three-year NHS Pay Deal, a decision which Unison says has cost its members thousands of pounds.

A spokesman for Sodexo: “As part of the 2018 Agenda for Change pay deal, the Department of Health agreed to centrally fund new pay rates for NHS employees in England.

“However, this funding has not been extended to include those employed by private contractors, such as Sodexo.

“We support the trade union’s position of lobbying the Government for central funding but are also continuing to work together with the Trust to reach a positive resolution as soon as possible.“

A spokesman for Unison Doncaster Bassetlaw Health said: “We had a hugely successful first day. There was overwhelming support from the staff and public.

“Sodexo staff have been operating a cheerful, lively and law abiding picket with plenty of flag waving and singing.

“This will be repeated for three days per week throughout the rest of May.

“Social media is humming with it.”

During the strike a hot lunch is available to all patients while the evening meal consists of cold choices for patients selecting from the standard menu.

All patients requiring any special diets will not have menu disruptions.

For staff and visitors, there will be limited retail options available. At Bassetlaw Hospital The Hot Kitchen will be open 8am to 6.30pm.

A spokesman for Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals , which runs Worksop’s Bassetlaw Hospital, said they hoped Sodexo and Unison would be able to reach a resolution “as soon as possible”.

He said: “In the coming days and weeks it will be our priority to work with both Sodexo and our union colleagues to minimise any disruption to our patients.”

One union member said: “Many of us have worked for the trust for many years, but are now among the lowest paid staff in the NHS.”