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UNISON launches campaign to bring Liverpool Hospital Cleaners, Caterers and Security Guards back in house

THE UK's largest trade union launched a campaign to bring all Hospital workers within Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Liverpool Women's NHS Foundation Trust back in-house.  Currently, hundreds of Hospital Cleaners, Caterers and Security Guards working at- Aintree University Hospital, Royal Liverpool University Hospital, Liverpool Women's Hospital and Broadgreen Hospital are employed by private companies. UNISON says that the Hospital workers, who are employed by private contractors Compass Medirest, ISS and OCS, are at a disadvantage compared with NHS employees.

UNISON Liverpool Hospitals Health branch secretary Su Edwards said:- "Our members do some of the most vital jobs within our health service. They cook patients' food, keep the Hospital clean and protect patients and staff. Yet currently, these health service heroes are being treated like second class citizens. There is only one way that companies such as Compass, ISS and OCS can make a profit within the NHS and that's by cost cutting. This means that Hospital staff employed by private contractors receive lower pay and worse working conditions than colleagues employed directly by the NHS. It is morally wrong. But it's not just Hospital staff who are getting a raw deal. Compass, ISS and OCS prioritise profit over people they bid for NHS contracts, then they cut costs and patients pay the price. If we brought these services in-house, we could deliver a higher quality service, with more staff on shift, better Hospital food and safer Hospitals."

UNISON launched their campaign on Monday, by visiting the Royal, the Women's Hospital, Aintree Hospital and the Walton Centre with banners and placards. Those taking part in the lunchtime events were a mixture of NHS staff and Hospital workers employed by private contractors. An unnamed Aintree Hospital worker employed by ISS said:- "Like all of our health service colleagues, we've put ourselves at increased risk over the last few months keeping patients safe. We don't want a medal, we just want to be treated equally with our colleagues who are employed by NHS. We deserve proper pay and working conditions so that we can deliver a high quality service for Liverpool patients."

UNISON have written to the CEOs of the 2 NHS Trusts, calling on them to bring all outsourced services back within the health service. The union has also written to local MPs, the City Mayor and the Mayor of Liverpool City Region to ask for their support..

Metro Mayor offers support for apprentices made redundant during the COVID-19 crisis

STEVE Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region; himself a former apprentice bricklayer; has launched a new scheme to help local apprentices made redundant, or at risk, because of Coronavirus find new employment or training opportunities. Delivered through Be More, the Combined Authority's apprenticeship portal, the initiative will help support redundant apprentices to find a new suitable apprenticeship or explore alternative study options. With the Government furlough scheme now coming to an end, experts have warned about the threat of large scale redundancies, with apprenticeships seen as being especially vulnerable. Back in June, Mark Dawe the chief executive of the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP) told the House of Commons Education Select Committee that some of the country's largest organisations were talking about massive reductions in the number of apprenticeships. Research by the Sutton Trust in May 2020, at the height of the lockdown, indicated that nationally 61% of apprentices had either been furloughed, had their off, the, job training suspended or been made redundant. It is likely that the situation will have worsened further since this research was undertaken. 

Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region said:- "As a former apprentice myself, my heart goes out to everyone who has lost their apprenticeship because of Coronavirus. I still use many of skills, qualifications and experience I gained as an apprentice in my job now. I know all too well how people are held back, not by a lack of talent and hard work, but a lack of opportunity. I'm not going to let that happen here. I'm launching this initiative to do as much as we can to ensure none of these apprentices are left behind by the economic shock this pandemic has caused. Through Be More, we will help them into new apprenticeships, or find them opportunities to study at some of the fantastic Colleges we have across the Region. I have benefited so much from someone taking a chance on me as a young apprentice. Our young people deserve that same opportunity."

Apprentices can access support by visiting:- Be-More.Info or by contacting the Combined Authority on:- ApprenticeshipsRecovery@LiverpoolCityRegion-CA.Gov.UK.

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