A trade union has criticised the employer of all cleaning, catering and portering staff at Kingston Hospital for “refusing to hold any talks” over the Christmas period.

GMB Southern, the union for all cleaning, security, switchboard, catering and portering staff at Kingston Hospital, is embroiled in a row with the private firm ISS Mediclean over sick pay and the London Living Wage.

Helen O’Connor, regional organiser at the union, said “Highly paid ISS managers will now be enjoying their Christmas holidays early while our members work hard to keep Kingston Hospital running smoothly over the festive period.

“Our members and their families will not be enjoying Christmas as this scrooge employer pays them poverty pay and forces them to go into work sick due to the lack of a sick pay scheme.”

The trade union, which represents all ISS staff working in the NHS, said Kingston Hospital workers are paid below the living wage and are forced to work even when they are ill.

The trade union has called on ISS to “get around the table and talk to GMB”, warning that their members “will not stop fighting until their basic demands are met”.

A Kingston Hospital spokesperson said: “The Trust greatly values the contribution of the staff providing Soft FM Services to Kingston Hospital and they are a key part of our team.

“However the Trust is not the employer of these staff. We are working closely with ISS management and GMB Southern, which represents ISS staff, to support them to find a resolution to concerns between them.”