GMB members who reported abuse and racism to managers have to defend their actions in a disciplinary
Trade unionists are at noon today demonstrating outside a Swindon hospital as employers begin disciplinary procedures against staff who blew the whistle on corruption and racism inside the building.
GMB members have already taken more than 20 days strike action at the Great Western Hospital over allegations that supervisors for Carillion, the private company that runs the hospital’s domestic cleaning contract, have for years operated an informal system where they demanded cash or goods in exchange for holiday approvals, overtime or shift changes.
Ten members of staff came forward to blow the whistle on the ‘inappropriate gift giving’, which was initially denied and later partially admitted by the company.
GMB regional officer Carole Vallelly said: “Our members have been brave enough to come forward and give evidence which has uncovered corruption at Carillion, yet the company is intent on punishing them rather than protecting them. They are victimising the victims.”
The union has evidence the corrupt practices were reported to management as early as 2009; but the concerns of staff were swept under the carpet. GMB believes that a culture of institutionalised racism meant that the mainly South Asian staff were not believed.
After 109 staff submitted a grievance in December 2011, the company conducted a perfunctory investigation in January, announcing it was not going to uphold the grievance. It was only after GMB members took strike action that Carillion conducted a more thorough investigation.
* You can watch a UnionNews film of the strike here
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