Outsourced Luton & Dunstable Hospital cleaners claim NHS pay victory

Luton and Dunstable Hospital’s outsourced cleaners have won the same pay as their NHS colleagues after a months-long fight for justice, unions UNISON can reveal today.

When a new cleaning, catering and housekeeping contract begins in November, the workers, many paid the minimum wage, will enjoy full NHS pay of at least £9.21 an hour, as well as any nationally agreed future rises.

Staff have also won improved annual leave and sick pay entitlements.

Staff overwhelmingly backed the deal, which will come into effect when Engie’s contract ends in November, in consultative ballots over the last fortnight.

The Trust is currently picking the next private firm to run its cleaning, catering and housekeeping contract but all workers will be guaranteed NHS pay rates.

UNISON regional organiser Shane Hall said: “This is brilliant news for some of the lowest-paid workers at Luton and Dunstable. After a hard-fought campaign, they’ll end up with much more money in their pockets.

“We spent weeks clapping our NHS staff while many L&D cleaners were doing an absolutely vital job in the hospital for minimum wage. This deal means they’ve got something to applaud themselves.

“This isn’t everything we’ve been fighting for — cleaners, caterers and housekeepers would feel far more valued and part of the NHS family if they were on full NHS contracts — but it’s a life-changing improvement for these vital workers.”