GMB members in Swindon might strike over bullying, harassment and discrimination


Staff at a West Country hospital are to ballot for strike action over bullying, harassment and discrimination by their managers/

GMB members employed by Carillion as porters, theatre technicians, caterers and cleaners at the 400-bed Great Western NHS Hospital in Swindon run by the Swindon and Marlborough NHS Trust, took the decision to strike after a meeting attended by the union’s general secretary yesterday.

Regional officer Carole Vallelly said: “Our members had a private meeting with Paul Kenny who was told of the myriad problems they’re experiencing at the hands of managers of Carillion. He was told these problems have as their root the PFI contractor’s failure to deal properly with concerns over holiday arrangements, shift arrangements and general consultation with the staff. Instead they face a culture of bullying, harassment and discrimination.

“They asked that their concerns be reported to the Central Executive Council (CEC) of the union so that they could be given authority to ballot for strike action to get the problems addressed. I will now take steps to consult members to ensure that there is a full report to next CEC asking for authority to move to an official strike ballot on this matter.”

The hospital was one of the first to be built under the PFI scheme at a cost of £148m with Carillion as the lead contractor. The hospital opened in 2002 to replace the services previously provided at the Princess Margaret Hospital, which had served the town since 1959.

The facilities at the hospital include an accident and emergency department  which sees approximately 50,000 patients per year, an acute assessment unit, an eight-bedded intensive care unit, an intermediate care centre on site, a health and social care education centre called the academy, and a wide range of wards and clinics, including 400 in-patient beds, serving approximately 300,000 people.

Paul Kenny said: “We’re calling on Swindon and Marlborough NHS Trust to investigate these allegations of bullying, harassment and discrimination in the contract run in their name by Carillion.

There is no place in a modern health service for bullying, harassment or discrimination. Either the Trust takes action about this or the union members will”.

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