Wage fears for night shift cleaners at Stevenage’s Lister Hospital after G4S contract change

Pay scales have been changed for cleaners at Lister Hospital.

Pay scales have been changed for cleaners at Lister Hospital. - Credit: Archant

Cleaners working long and demanding shifts at Stevenage’s Lister Hospital fear they could be hundreds of pounds a month worse off if proposed changes to their working conditions go ahead.

Contractor G4S, which is responsible for cleaning services at the Coreys Mill Lane hospital, wants to bump up the hourly rate it pays its staff from £6.98 to at least £8 an hour.

But the rise comes at a cost, because extra payments in place for working night and weekend shifts would be reduced.

Cleaners who work these shifts at the moment say that they are looking at a cut in their current rate of several pounds an hour – which tots up to £400 a month if the deal goes ahead next month.

One said: “A lot of the night staff have financial commitments like mortgages or have children to feed.

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“The majority are also single parents who rely on their job as their sole income. They really can’t afford to take a hit like this.”

The proposals would also reduce the amount of annual leave the cleaners receive by two days.

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Staff would not be paid sick leave for the first three days of absence either.

Another cleaner who has worked at the hospital for the past two years said: “I’m looking to get another job because the atmosphere is horrible.

“When I joined it was much friendlier but now everyone’s so stressed because they don’t know what’s going to happen next.

“It has turned the job into a nightmare and I feel really sorry for some of the staff who are set to lose a big chunk of their wage.”

Some of the cleaners are members of union UCATT which is supporting them to oppose the proposed changes to their contracts.

Acting regional secretary for the union’s eastern region Ron McKay said: “Dedicated and poorly paid workers are facing huge cuts in their pay and conditions in order for a multi-national company to maintain its profit levels.”

He added: “If G4S force through these changes they will destroy morale and massively reduce productivity. That will inevitably be bad news for the hospital and its patients.”

The East and North Herts NHS Trust recently renewed the firm’s contract to provide cleaning services at its Stevenage and Hertford County hospitals.

Its value has been reduced by £800,000 but unlike the previous contract G4S will not provide cleaning services at the QEII Hospital in Welwyn Garden City.

A G4S spokesman declined to comment when the Comet asked if these proposals would reduce its overall wage bill.

In a prepared statement the firm said: “The new terms and conditions will enable us to increase pay for the majority of employees while providing good value for the NHS and the patients at the hospitals.”

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