GMB members in Swindon, many of whom are from Goa, vote overwhelmingly “Yes” for action over bullying management

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GMB members are to strike over bullying and harassment at a hospital in Swindon.

The workers, many of whom are from Goa in western India, voted 97.3% “Yes” in a strike ballot on a 84.1% turn out. They are employed by private contractor Carillion to carry out ‘housekeeping’ work – cleaning the wards and delivering food to patients – at the Great Western Hospital in Swindon.

GMB branch secretary Andy Newman said: “Many of our members have spoken to me and said that although they don’t want a strike, they don’t see any other way of getting Carillion to treat them with respect at work. A strike now seems inevitable.”

The GMB in December submitted a formal complaint by 109 staff over allegations of bullying and despite more than 90 staff members giving evidence of bullying, the manager concerned has not been suspended by Carillion, and is still involved in supervising staff.

Andy Newman said: “The outstanding issues could easily be resolved through negotiations, and I hope that Carillion will work with us to resolve this dispute without disrupting the hospital, but their current intransigence is leaving our members with few options”

GMB regional organiser Carole Vallelly added: “GMB has approached the NHS trust asking them to intervene and convene talks to avoid a strike, but disappointingly the trust  has failed to act.”

GMB has created an initial strike fund of £50,000 to support their members if they do take industrial action.

Carol Vallelly said: “The union sees this strike as absolutely vital, there is no place for bullying in the modern workplace, and there certainly should be no bullying in the NHS. The size of the strike fund demonstrates just how serious we are.”

* You can read a UnionNews special report on how GMB organised workers at the hospital here  


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