Staff employed by Medirest strike over terms and conditions

Medirest strike
Credit: Darren M Green /

Nearly 300 workers employed by Medirest have begun further strike action in an ongoing dispute over terms and conditions.

The employees, whose roles include porters, cleaners, security staff, catering workers and reception teams, work for the private provider of facilities and services across Nottinghamshire’s Sherwood Forest Hospital NHS Trust. They are located across King’s Mill, Mansfield Community and Newark Community Hospitals and are members of trade union GMB.

Strike action started at 6am today (Thursday 30 May) and will continue until 5:59am on Saturday 1 June. This follows action that took place on Friday 17 May, which saw more than 200 workers take part.

According to staff, they are taking part in strike action because they believe their bosses are not keeping their terms and conditions in line with workers employed directly by the NHS. GMB stated that their breaking point came after NHS employees received a Covid-19 recovery bonus payment, but this was not applied to staff in the hospitals employed by Medirest.

A spokesperson for Medirest said: “We are disappointed with GMB’s decision to proceed with further industrial action. We highly value the work of our people. All our employees received a separate pay uplift last year and have access to a range of employee benefits. The eligibility criteria for the Covid-19 bonus payment is in the hands of the Department of Health and Social Care. While we are pleased that some of our employees have been identified as eligible and are due to receive the bonus payment imminently, we recognise it is disappointing for those who do not meet the government’s eligibility criteria.

“We continue to maintain a regular dialogue with our people, the unions, and NHS Trusts. In partnership with the trust, we have put in place contingency measures to limit any disruption to services for patients.”

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Cameron Mitchell, organiser at GMB, added: “Strike day will no doubt see huge disruption to the services at these three hospitals. Private contractors don’t get weekend enhancements, they don’t get fair parental rights or sick pay and they are still waiting for the Covid-19 recovery bonus paid to NHS staff. On a Sunday, Medirest workers are paid almost £10 an hour less than colleagues doing the same work on the NHS payroll. These workers are demanding the dignity and recognition they deserve.”

Sherwood Forest Hospitals were contacted for comment prior to publication.