September has been a month for industrial action by staff employed by contractors – especially in the North West.


The latest to join the fray have been staff employed by private contractor Engie Services Ltd within Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust have unanimously voted to take strike action over their employer’s failure to pay NHS rates.

They work for the multinational outsourcing company as security guards and some are paid only the minimum wage rate of £8.21 an hour. The lowest rate for staff employed directly by the NHS is £9.03 an hour and the difference of 82p an hour is worth £1,500 a year for full-time staff.

UNISON North West regional organiser Amy Barringer said: “Security staff put themselves in danger to keep patients and staff safe. The 100% mandate for strike action shows how strongly these dedicated hospital staff feel about this issue. Engie must put hands into pockets and do the right thing before hospital security staff are forced to take strike action.”


Around 300 staff employed by private contractor Compass within NHS trusts in St Helens and Blackpool have also taken three days of strike action – angered by the company’s failure to match health service pay rates and working conditions.

UNISON has condemned Compass for silencing its workers, after the firm disciplined hospital workers at St Helens & Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust who had spoken out about low pay.

UNISON regional organiser Pat Woolham said: “It’s plain that Compass is aiming to silence the strikers and suppress staff in an attempt to force them back to work. But the strikers are united, determined and will take further action if necessary.”

The September action is the third round of action on the issue by these hospital workers.


In Wigan 31 drug and alcohol support workers employed by Addaction are have been taking action over pay and broken promises. The staff were previously employed by the NHS but the service, commissioned by Wigan Council, was transferred to the London-based charity.

Workers continued to receive pay rises in line with those of NHS employees and were given assurances by the organisation’s managers this would continue into the future. But when the 1% pay cap in the NHS was removed from April 2018, Addaction refused to implement the promised wage rise.

Dear Reader,

If you like our content please support our campaigning journalism to protect health care for all. 

Our goal is to inform people, hold our politicians to account and help to build change through evidence based ideas.

Everyone should have access to comprehensive healthcare, but our NHS needs support. You can help us to continue to counter bad policy, battle neglect of the NHS and correct dangerous mis-infomation.

Supporters of the NHS are crucial in sustaining our health service and with your help we will be able to engage more people in securing its future.

Please donate to help support our campaigning NHS research and  journalism.                              

Comments are closed.