Management deny claims of reduced cleanliness during strikes
Alleged "bloody gauze" on a St George's Hospital floor. Picture: Helen O'Connor
Claims are being made by a union official that a 'blood soaked gauze dressing' was seen on the floor of a St George's Hospital after a week of strikes. Members of the GMB union who work for outsourcing company Mitie at the hospital in Tooting walked out from June 20 to 26 in a dispute over pay.
The union claimed that a staffer, who did not wish to be named, took a photo of the alleged â€˜gauzeâ€™ on the hospital floor after seven days of strikes from outsourced cleaners and hostesses. Helen Oâ€™Connor, regional organiser at GMB, tweeted the photo and said it was a 'concerning and chaotic sight'.
However, a spokesperson from St Georgeâ€™s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that the â€˜bloody gauzeâ€™ is believed to be 'red and white safety tape'. Mitie and St Georgeâ€™s NHS trust say 'high standards' of cleanliness have been maintained at all times in the hospital and services have been unaffected.
Ms Oâ€™Connor said GMB wants staff contracts to be taken back in-house 'for good' by the NHS trust. She warned there could be further strike action if the dispute is not resolved.
She added that the RMT unionâ€™s Mick Lynch visited the picket line at the hospital on Sunday and gave his support to members. St Georgeâ€™s says it has offered to facilitate talks with GMB and Mitie, which GMB refused. It also says clinical services have been 'unaffected' by the strike and is asking patients to attend hospital as usual.
A spokesperson for St Georgeâ€™s said, 'The trust offered to join and facilitate talks with GMB and Mitie which was sadly refused by GMB. We are looking into images being shared on social media. No clinical services have been affected by strike action and we are incredibly thankful to the additional staff who worked to maintain high standards of cleanliness and hygiene during this time within clinical areas.'
In a separate statement, a spokesperson for Mitie said, 'Claims that previous industrial action has had an impact on our services are incorrect. High standards of hygiene have been maintained at all times, particularly in clinical areas. Our priority remains ensuring a clean and safe environment for patients and staff.'
The dispute with Mitie kicked off over pay cycle changes earlier this year, which saw workers paid in mid-May rather than at the end of April. The switch from four-weekly to monthly paydays meant they were paid on 11 May rather than 29 April. Union members first walked out over the dispute for three days on May 30 and June 6 and 7.
Mitie has previously called the restructuring a 'significant improvement' and said it offered workers an interim payment while the changes were made.
July 5, 2022