GMB Southern Region responds to reports that Interserve is facing collapse

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“It's time to turn the tide on the disastrous experiment of gifting our public services to fly-by-night profiteering companies”, says GMB Southern

GMB, the union for Interserve workers, has responded after the company faced collapse this afternoon.

Interserve is set to go into administration after its largest shareholder, the US hedge fund Coltrane, opposed restructuring plans drawn up by the company’s lenders.

The company, which employs 45,000 people in the UK, has contracts in the NHS, including staff at Lewisham Hospital.

Helen O’Connor, GMB Regional Organiser said: "I met with members in Lewisham Hospital yesterday and was told that the provision of uniform is terrible. One worker was given just three shirts in a three-year period. I was also told that food 'runs out' for the patients, and that pay errors leaving the workers short of pay occur regularly and they are then expected to put in a 'pay query' to rectify this.

"Lewisham Interserve porters, cleaners and caterers are currently on £8 an hour during the week which is the lowest hourly rate of pay I have seen in any of the hospitals in South East London.

"Wages are so low that workers have absolutely no choice but to take on overtime. The average rent in Lewisham ranges from £227 per week up to £637 per week so there is little chance that any of those workers can live locally. Long commutes and lots of overtime lead to exhausted workers who not only run into ill health themselves but who make mistakes that have a negative impact on patients.

"GMB’s campaign to end outsourcing and the fight for decent pay, terms and condition for hospital workers is key to stopping standards slipping in our hospitals.”

Paul Maloney, GMB Regional Secretary said: "Ministers have learnt absolutely nothing from the Carillion fiasco and are hell-bent on outsourcing public sector contracts."

"Shambolic mismanagement is putting jobs on the line and services in jeopardy.  Our public services can't go on like this.

"We've launched our Go Public campaign to push for an end to outsourcing and privatisation in UK public services.

"It's time to turn the tide on the disastrous experiment of gifting our public services to fly-by-night profiteering companies."


Contact: Helen O’Connor 07506 711 574 or GMB Southern Press Office 07970 114762


Notes to Editors

Previous GMB Press Release - GMB call on Government to step in on Interserve rescue deal (6 February)