Hospital security workers ‘struggling to make ends meet’ strike over pay

Hospital security workers are set to go on strike for seven days from today in a dispute over pay and holiday.

Strike action will take place at two Lambeth hospitals, St Thomas’ Hospital in Westminster Bridge Road and Guy’s Hospital in Great Maze Pond.

The strike comes after Guys and St Thomas’ Hospital Trust declined to pay a wage increase worth £2,000, the equivalent of 96p per hour, the union Unite said.

A security officer taking part in the strikes, who asked not to be named, said: “Our security management got a pay increase last year, but our salary remains the same, despite our role becoming increasingly more dangerous.

“We deal with everything, from volatile patients to opening and unlocking various hospital departments. It all comes with a great deal of risk, but that is ignored by the Trust. We have simply had enough.”

According to Unite, the security guards – who are paid £10.76 an hour – are among the lowest-paid workers at the hospital.

The workers are paid less than their counterparts at other hospitals in London, including Kings’ College Hospital, where a security officer’s salary starts at £30,000 each year, Unite said.

The union is also fighting recent proposals from the Trust to impose “extended unpaid breaks” and its “refusal” to calculate holiday allowance based on a 37.5-hour working week. 

The Trust currently calculates holiday allowance based on security workers working 44-hours-a-week, even if they work fewer hours. This means security workers receive fewer holidays, a spokeswoman from Unite said.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “The action of the Trust is deplorable. These workers play a crucial front line role but are on poverty wages and are struggling to make ends meet.”

But a spokesman from Guy’s and St Thomas’ Trust said they were “disappointed” that Unite was calling strike action “in the middle of constructive talks”. 

The spokesman said: “We would urge them to call off this action so we can continue making progress on a fair deal for our highly-valued security officers.”

This latest wave of strikes follows two days of industrial action in January in a dispute over pay and holiday. 

Pictured top: St Thomas’ Hospital (Picture: Google Street View)

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