RMT threatens to withdraw investments as GMB members take third day of strike action at Swindon hospital


GMB members lobby Carillion in London. Photograph by Guy Smallman

Unions are today opening a second front against Carillion, the firm accused of bullying NHS domestic staff in Swindon, by threatening to withdraw investments from its parent company.

As GMB members embark on a third day of strike action, the RMT has warned it will take its pension money out of Semperian, the company that sub-contracts Carillion’s work, unless the dispute is resolved.

GMB general secretary Paul Kenny said: “I am in contact with Bob Crow from RMT and the leaders of ASLEF and TSSA to bring them up to speed at what is happening at Great Western Hospital in Swindon.

“No doubt they will be as shocked as we are that their member’s pension funds are being used to prop up a system of bullying and harassment of workers there.”

The first union to respond was the RMT, whose general secretary Bob Crow said: “We’re making it quite clear that if Semperian don’t intervene with swift and decisive action to resolve this dispute with our GMB colleagues in the NHS in Swindon then we will have no hesitation in asking our trustees on the London Transport Pension Fund to push for the withdrawal of current investments in the company.”

Some 150 GMB members at the Swindon hospital are on strike over bullying and discrimination at the hospital. They are demanding Carillion management act to stop the culture of bullying on the contract and for an end to discrimination in the application of pay and conditions on the contract.

Paul Kenny said: “GMB members have already taken 48 hours of strike action and strike again tomorrow over bullying, harassment and discrimination by contractors working for these shareholders.

“Government is encouraging shareholders to take an active interest in what happens in their name. I’m certain that staff at London Transport would not tolerate bullying, harassment and discrimination in their name. There are talks tomorrow. If Carillion does not end the culture of bullying, harassment and discrimination consideration should be given to finding new contractors who will end it.”

If talks today fail to resolve the dispute, the union will next week take three further days strike action.

The strikers on Tuesday staged a demonstration outside the headquarters of Carillion in London. There was a protest yesterday outside the Zurich Insurance HQ building in Swindon from where Carillion are drawing staff to do their jobs on strike days.

You can read about Tuesday’s London protest here and read a feature about why the workers are ‘Goan’ on strike here

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