GMB members take campaign to London as they feel Carillion is not taking seriously their complaints about harassment


GMB members vote to ballot for strike action. Pic by Andy Newman for GMB

Domestic workers at a Swindon hospital are on Thursday going back on strike after talks with employers broke down, despite the resignation of the manager at the centre of bullying accusations.

And many of the striking GMB members are today demonstrating outside the London offices of Carillion, the private contractor that employs them to carry out ‘housekeeping’ work – cleaning the wards and delivering food to patients – at the Great Western Hospital.

GMB regional organiser Carole Vallelly told UnionNews: “We want to bring this dispute to the attention of the national company – to ensure the company’s top brass get the message – because we don’t feel the local management are taking it seriously enough.”

The workers, many of whom are from Goa in western India, voted 97.3% “Yes” in a strike ballot, and have already taken one day’s strike action. The GMB in December submitted a formal complaint by 109 staff over allegations of bullying and despite more than 90 staff members giving evidence, no action was taken by Carillion over the manager.

It was only at a meeting yesterday the GMB learned the manager had left Carillion, with the company saying it “reluctantly accepted her resignation”.

Carole Vallelly said: “Whilst we welcome the news this manager is no longer working at the hospital, the fact that she resigned, rather than faced disciplinary action leads us to believe that Carillion believes her, not our members, and that they therefore are not taking our complaints seriously.

“Whilst most of the accusations are against this one manager, we are concerned there is a wider culture of bullying and intimidation at the hospital and we want management to properly investigate the complaints.”

The talks were suspended and will reconvene on Thursday – the day of the next strike.

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