Press release: Hospital laundry workers denied full pay for isolation could be putting patients at risk

Hospital laundry workers denied full pay for isolation could be putting patients at risk

  • Hospital laundry workers denied proper sick pay in south London
  • Patients could be at risk, as sick workers incentivised to work when ill, say trade unionists
  • Campaign for full sick pay endorsed by local MP

Campaigners and MPs have expressed alarm as it emerged that hospital laundry workers in south London were not being given proper sick pay or isolation pay.

Workers at Elis Laundry in Brixton, South London, do not get full pay if they have to self-isolate, meaning that workers are incentivised to come into work even if they are sick or living with vulnerable people. The outsourced NHS service provides laundry to hospitals across south London.

Union representatives have sounded the alarm about the situation. The Statutory Sick Pay paid to workers is not enough to live on, and will not even cover most workers’ rent. The lack of full sick pay could be putting patients at risk, they say.

Lambeth UNISON have launched a campaign to demand full sick and isolation pay for workers at Elis Laundry. Their petition is here.

Lambeth UNISON Branch Secretary Ruth Cashman said:

“Without proper sick pay, workers face a choice between going to work or not being able to eat or pay the rent.  It is a vital that all workers in the workplace, whether directly-employed or outsourced and regardless of contractual status, are guaranteed full pay from day one of any self-isolation or sickness absence. They also need personal protective equipment. Without these measures, the spread of the Covid-19 will be quicker and therefore far more deadly.”

Bell Ribeiro Addy, MP for Streatham, said:

“I stand with Elis Laundry staff, who are calling for full sick pay and proper hygiene breaks. By not offering measures like these, employers are putting both workers and the general public at greater risk of Covid-19.”

Stuart Jordan, an NHS nurse based in East London, said:

“If a laundry worker has no rights to sick and isolation pay then that is a problem for everyone working and being cared for in the NHS. If these workers don’t have financial security to comply with public health advice then that puts us all at risk. Every day bosses refuse to act on this issue increases the risks to all of us.”

 

ENDS

NOTES

1. For more information, please email rcashman@lambeth.gov.uk or ring Ruth on +44 7756 786309

2. Lambeth UNISON is a local government branch of the public sector union.

3. Workers and trade unionists are available for broadcast interviews

 

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