Thousands of London’s lowest-paid hospital workers are set to miss out on the national NHS pay rise, the Standard has learned.
About 1,600 porters, cleaners, catering staff and security guards at Barts Health are ineligible for the rise, according to the Department of Health.
Unions say the “injustice” is will be repeated across London as many NHS trusts sub-contract non-clinical services rather than employing staff directly.
Announcing the proposed £4.2bn national pay deal in March, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said it was worth between 6.5 per cent and 29 per cent over three years, with the biggest rises targeted at the lowest paid.
It equates to an increase of more than £2,600 over three years for staff on the lowest NHS pay band.
Mr Hunt said: “Rarely has a pay rise been so well deseved for NHS staff, who have never worked harder.”
The Barts Health workers were transferred by the trust to private operator Serco in September 2016, and their pay was linked to the London Living Wage rather than the NHS’s “Agenda for Change” rates.
Unions representing the Barts Health staff, who work at five east London hospitals, said Serco refused to pay more than £10.20 an hour. By comparison, NHS staff in London will receive at least £10.83 an hour, rising to £11.17 an hour in inner London, if the national deal is agreed.
Ruth Hydon, Unite regional officer, said: “These are the lowest paid workers in this trust. The NHS deal has been agreed nationally to provide more for the lowest-paid workers.
“It’s an injustice health workers employed by Serco, who keep these London hospitals safe and clean, are being offered less than other NHS workers at the same hospitals.
“The Serco workers have suffered years of pay restraint. We are expecting to get that NHS deal now for these workers. Serco workers are expecting to get that increase. Our members hold the trust and Serco jointly responsible for what their pay is set at.”
The NHS deal applies to nurses, paramedics, midwives, therapists, dieticians, clinical scientists, chiropodists and radiographers. Doctors have separate pay deals.
A delegation of Serco-employed workers lobbied the Barts Health board last week, urging it to ensure pay equality for all workers.
Ian Peters, chairman of Barts Health, told them: “We absolutely recognise the contribution you make to patient care. We understand what you are asking us to do.
“It’s clearly a matter of priority and urgency. It’s clearly on the board’s agenda and my agenda. We will talk to Serco.”
A Department of Health spokeswoman said: “Serco contractors are not employed by the NHS.
“The pay rise is for NHS staff employed under the Agenda for Change contract and that is what [the Treasury] has agreed to fund – the Government has been explicitly clear on this since it was announced last year. Any pay rise for these staff is a matter for their own employers.”
Serco said: “We value the important contributions of all our employees and agreed with the Trust and the unions at the start of our contract that we would pay at least the London Living Wage at Barts Health NHS Trust, which is a commitment that we continue to meet.”