The NHS may be celebrating its 'birthday' today but cleaners, porters and security staff from one of London's biggest hospital trusts are taking part in a three-day strike over a pay dispute.
Staff at Barts Health NHS Trust, which operates in the City and in East London, are calling for a 30p-an-hour pay rise in line with inflation, an end to job cuts and a reduction in their workload.
Talks took place last week at the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) but the dispute could not be solved.
The staff are employed by a private company, Serco, and those taking part in the strikes are members of the Unite union. Ninety nine percent of people who voted in Unite's ballot agreed that industrial action was needed.
Strike action began yesterday (July 4) and there is also a 7-day strike scheduled to start on Tuesday (July 11).
This is set to be followed by a 14-day strike beginning on July 25, according to The East London Advertiser. More action is planned for August and September.
Whipps Cross and St Bartholomew’s hospitals are among the facilities affected by the current strike.
A Barts Health spokesperson said: “Contingency plans are in place to minimise any disruption to staff and patients at our hospitals. All patient care at each of our hospitals will continue and we advise patients to attend their hospital appointments as normal.”