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Hospital workers vote to strike in row over 'lost' wages

GMB claim a new payroll system at Hairmyres Hospital means staff are having to wait for their money.

Strike threat: Staff at University Hospital Hairmyres have voted for industrial action.
Strike threat: Staff at University Hospital Hairmyres have voted for industrial action. Google 2019

Hospital workers are to go out on strike following a row over "lost" wages.

NHS Lanarkshire facilities management contractor ISS introduced a new payroll system, which has led to staff paid fortnightly having to wait an extra week for their wages.

Around 300 workers at University Hospital Hairmyres in East Kilbride say their pay packets are a total of £75,000 short because of the new system.

The GMB union held a ballot on Thursday and announced that 91.8% of its members voted for industrial action to force ISS to release their wages.

Any strike action will affect services like cleaning, portering, maintenance, housekeeping and security at the hospital - and could take place mid-July.

GMB Scotland organiser Karen Leonard said: "It is utterly shameful that dedicated staff working at the coalface of our NHS are being treated with such contempt. There is no excuse for withholding wages from your employees.

"We warned ISS repeatedly that imposing the new payroll system could cause hardship and uncertainty for our members and their families, which is exactly what happened, while the response from ISS in the form of short-term loans and emotional support was appalling.

"There's no question that a strike will severely disrupt services at Hairmyres but this isn't a decision we have taken lightly.

"No credible trade union could allow the precedence of PFI contractors in our NHS withholding wages from workers go unchallenged.

"The solution is obvious: ISS need to pay what they owe.

"They are badly in the wrong and both NHS Lanarkshire and the Scottish Government should be urgently intervening, not only to ensure our NHS staff get the respect they deserve but also to avoid disruption to patients."

In response, ISS said: "We understand that some ISS employees who are members of the GMB have voted to take strike action at University Hospital Hairmyres.

"We would like to make it clear that ISS is not withholding money that is payable to any employee.

"ISS remain committed to providing both quality services to our patients in the hospital and the welfare of our employees; all our employees have been communicated with in detail in relation to the changes to our payroll system and pay cycles but, as ever, we are happy to undertake further clarification dialogue with any staff member should they wish."

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