The GWH housekeepers dispute: Carillion admits shortfalls in staff behaviour
The dispute between housekeeping support staff at Great Western Hospital and their employer Carillion which led to strike action in February and March, has still not been settled. Now Carillion has admitted they have evidence of shortfalls in the behaviour of their staff at GWH.
Carillion have proposed a timetable for the completion of their investigation into the complaints about unfair holiday allocation and allegations of bullying and inappropriate behaviour. A collective grievance was submitted in December 2011 by 109 employees, who almost all come from Swindon’s Goan community. A further twenty-three employees added their names last month.
On the complaints about unfair holiday allocation Carillion say there was no ban on taking leave of more than two week when the complaint was made. But they have found “some misunderstandings” and their policy has been re-issued in both English and Konkani, the primary language of the Goan community, “to resolve these issues.”
In a statement, Gemma Lynch, who runs Carillion’s facilities at GWH, said: “During the investigation, it has become clear that many of our staff have been confused about a number of our policies and procedures. Disappointingly, there is evidence to suggest there have been shortfalls in the standards of behaviour we expect of our people.”
“Carillion does not tolerate bullying, intimidation, or inappropriate inducements of any kind. Measures, including appropriate disciplinary action, will be taken to underpin these central company policies.”
“We are now acting to put additional training in place and steps to better engagement at GWH. This will include improving communication between staff, supervisors and managers.”
Carillion say that “provided there is no further disruption”, final results of the investigation into the collective grievance are expected by the end of May. But investigations into some individual grievances may not be complete until the end of June.
Many of the support workers belong to the GMB union which is not recognised by Carillion and the company are still not talking to the GMB about the dispute. The Union will be announcing later this week what their next steps will be.
In the meantime, they are organising a big meeting in Swindon on Wednesday, May 16 with guest speakers – including Doreen Lawrence, mother of Stephen Lawrence the black eighteen year-old who was murdered in a racist attack in Eltham, south east London in 1993.