Threat of pension divestment by RMT activists has triggered inquiry by hospital owner by company at the centre of dispute involving GMB members


Unions have welcomed the prospect of an investigation into allegations of bullying and racism at a privately-run NHS hospital after activists threatened to divest from the pension fund of the hospital’s owner.

It comes as GMB members at the Great Western Hospital in Swindon (pictured) prepared to hold a 21st day of strike action next week.

Earlier this week, RMT representatives raised the issue of the five-month dispute with Carillion managers at the hospital during a pension fund trustees meeting.

The RMT is a stakeholder in the pension fund of the GWH’s owner, Semperian.

Following Tuesday’s meeting, the union has received a promise that Semperian will investigate the allegations of racist bullying by managers against the mainly south Indian cleaning staff employed by Carillion.

The GMB has welcomed the solidarity action by RMT.

GMB general secretary Paul Kenny said: “Our members at Swindon Hospital will be delighted by this proud action from RMT.

“Solidarity is better than a banker’s bonus.

“The dispute at Swindon Hospital is a simple matter of right and wrong. If Semperian doesn’t already know about the shameless activities and cover up happening under their roof for years, then they may be in for a shock.

“Carillion, Semperian and their mates seem to think they are safe in their ivory towers and that the world outside their corporate bubble doesn’t care about racial abuse, bullying and extortion.

“They are wrong and their arrogant indifference may cost them dear in the future.By putting Semperian on notice RMT has shown how decent people know the difference between right and wrong and that when it comes to where their pension is invested, or where public money is being spent, there are standards of behaviour that are not acceptable to working people.”

You can watch our film report on the GWH dispute here:

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