Following two days of strike action, 200 UNISON members working for Sodexo in North Devon NHS Trust, have won their bid for better pay and improved terms, in line with a national agreement set out in October 2006.
The deal will cover staff working as cleaners, cooks and porters, some of the lowest paid staff working for contractors in the public sector. They will receive a lump sum of up to £3,600, as well as a salary increase from 1 January, 2010, and other benefits including sick pay.
Dave Prentis, UNISON General Secretary, said:
“I am proud of our members for making a stand. It is never easy going on strike, particularly if you are low paid. But this action has shown what can be achieved when members stay solid and determined. These were low paid cooks, cleaners and porters, who have been waiting for three years to get the pay and terms they are entitled to under a national agreement. Their success is the first major example of UNISON’s Three Companies Project, which targets the multi-national private companies Compass, Aramark and Sodexo that are now winning the majority of public sector contracts in the NHS and schools. The key to the project is to organise not just in one company, but in all the companies across the industry, so that one can’t undercut the other with different conditions of service. Mr Prentis vowed that “we will go into these multinational companies and we will recruit, we will organise, we will unionise and we will get the rate for the job.”