Southampton General Hospital cleaners strike

11th Mar 2011 - Josh Asker

Medirest cleaners on the picket lineThis week, cleaners at Southampton General Hospital have been forced into strike action due to a dispute with employer, Compass Medirest. The dispute is due to the failure of the company to uphold the agreed contract with their workers. The contract was agreed as part of the 2004 ‘Agenda for Change’. In this agreement, the workers established their rights to sick pay and overtime, however much of the workforce are owed wages dating back to 2006, resulting in some individuals being owed up to £3,500.

Members of Southampton Socialist Students visited the picket line this week to show solidarity with the workers. The General Hospital is run by the Southampton University Trust, and many Students study and take part in work placements at the hospital.

The workforce has an impressive 98% union membership with Unison to fight against their employers’ reluctance to pay up. It this week established a vocal Picket line at the entrance to the hospital and gained the support of patients and other members of the workforce.

Despite making a profit last year of £114 million, the company still retains that it lacks the funds to reimburse their workers. The Health Trust has paid the privately owned company the required funds to pay the wages and overtime for the last 4 years. Meanwhile, other employees at the General hospital have enjoyed the rights achieved in the ‘Agenda for Change’.

This is yet another indication of how private companies are working inside the NHS to the detriment of workers pay and conditions.

Socialist students call on the support of other groups within the university to support the struggle with messages of support, information at

This is a long running campaign, and the employees will continue their fight with another three day strike starting Monday 14th.

Come to our next meeting: Banner making, Tuesday November 1st at 19:30, Nuffield Theatre Room B