Swindon hospital strike against Carillion

Reports by GMB, demotix.com, Union News, BBC
Published: 28/02/12

GMB members took part in a third 24 hour stoppage on Thursday 23rd February which followed two previous 24 hour stoppages on 14th Feb and on 21st Feb over bullying, harassment and discrimination by local Carillion management.

At talks last week Carillion said that they had reluctantly accepted the resignation of the manager at the centre of the dispute but that they were not prepared to uphold any of the grievances of the staff. As a consequence GMB has filled discrimination claims on behalf of the members at the Employment Tribunal. Semperian has also been joined to these tribunal cases.

Last week (on Wednesday 22nd) protests took place outside Burma Castrol offices in Swindon where Carillion are drawing staff to do their jobs on strike days. On Tuesday 21st the strikers staged a demonstration outside the headquarters of Carillion in London. This followed a protest (on Monday 20th ) outside the Zurich Insurance HQ building in Swindon where Carillion are also drawing staff to do their jobs on strike days. This followed a protest by Carillion staff outside Nationwide Building Society HQ in Swindon on Thursday 16th Feb as Carillion also drew staff from to do their jobs on strike days.

GMB members voted overwhelmingly for strike action in protest against bullying and discrimination at the hospital. GMB members are demanding that Carillion management act to stop the culture of bullying on the contract and for an end to discrimination in the application of pay and conditions on the contract.

The GMB members work as porters and housekeepers in catering and cleaning and other support roles at the hospital. The industrial action only involves GMB members who work for Carillion. It does not involve the more than 200 GMB members who work for the NHS Trust or the ambulance service at the Great Western Hospital.

GMB submitted a formal complaint by 109 staff over allegations of bullying in December. Over the last month over 90 staff members have given evidence of terrible bullying. The manager at the heart of the bullying allegations has now left Carillion.

Stop PFI Tax Dodging On NHS Cash (GMB)

Photo report: Swindon GWH Strikers Protest at Virgin Media HQ against Carillion (demotix.com)

video: We'll win against racist bullies (Union News)

Carillion manager resigns prior to strike at Swindon hospital source (BBC)

Transport union backs striking Swindon Hospital staff source (BBC)

New three-day strike at Swindon’s Great Western Hospital source (BBC)


Swindon NHS Ballot

Monday 12th December 2011



GMB is calling on Swindon and Marlborough NHS Trust to investigate these allegations in the contract run in their name by Carillion.

150 GMB members employed by Carillion at the 400 bed Great Western NHS Hospital in Swindon run by the Swindon and Marlborough NHS Trust, are to ballot for strike action over bullying, harassment and discrimination by their management. These members work as porters, theatre technicians, in catering and cleaning and other support roles in the hospital.

The hospital was one of the first to be built under the Private Finance Initiative at a cost of 148 m with Carillion as the lead contractor. The hospital opened in 2002 to replace the services previously provided at the Princess Margaret Hospital, which had served the town since 1959.

The facilities at the hospital include an accident and emergency department which sees approximately 50, 000 patients per year, an Acute Assessment Unit, an eight bedded Intensive Care Unit, an intermediate care Centre on site, a health and social care education Centre called the academy, and a wide range of wards and clinics, including 400 in-patient beds, serving approximately 300, 000 people.

Carole Vallelly GMB Regional officer said “GMB members at the hospital had a private meeting with Paul Kenny GMB General Secretary when he visited them at hospital today (Monday 12 December). He was told of the myriad problems members are experiencing at the hands of managers of Carillion. He was told that these problems have as their root the PFI contractor’s failure to deal properly with concerns over holiday arrangements, shift arrangements and general consultation with the staff. Instead they face a culture of bullying, harassment and discrimination.

They asked that their concerns be reported to the Central Executive Council (CEC) of the union so that they could be given authority to ballot for strike action to get the problems addressed. I will now take steps to consult members to ensure that there is a full report to next CEC asking for authority to move to an official strike ballot on this matter.“

Paul Kenny speaking after his meeting with members said “GMB is calling on Swindon and Marlborough NHS Trust to investigate these allegations of bullying, harassment and discrimination in the contract run in their name by Carillion.

There is no place in a modern health service for bullying, harassment or discrimination. Either the Trust takes action about this or the union members will“.


Contact: Carole Vallelly GMB officer 07810 553393 or GMB Swindon office 01793 818005 GMB Press Office Steve Pryle on 07921 289880 or Rose Conroy on 07974 251823