Kingston hospital workers will 'march for their rights' this Saturday to protest working conditions and sick pay.

The demonstration is organized by the GMB union on behalf of its members working for ISS, the private company that holds the cleaning, catering and portering contract at Kingston Hospital.

GMB say that ISS refuses to offer a full sick pay scheme to its GMB members.

Kingston GMB members employed by ISS will assemble outside Kingston hospital from noon on Saturday (February 2), before marching through Kingston for the demonstration.

Their central demands are for a living wage and full sick pay from day one across the ISS workforce.

GMB regional organiser Helen O’Connor said: "ISS fails to recognise that their award-winning workforce are human beings who have to pay rent and feed their families just like anyone else.

"Highly paid ISS managers...get a full sick pay scheme operational from day one but an ISS worker has to 'earn sick day credits' and in the event they fall sick must wait three days to get 'sick pay credit' (if) they have accrued any 'sick credit' in the first place."

The GMB organiser referenced the growing momentum of the campaign, which has already staged two successful demonstrations against ISS in November and December of 2018. She added that the union would ensure the protests would continue as long as proves necessary.

Ms O'Connor said: "GMB members won't put up with the type of workplace conditions that belong in the Victorian era and they will keep fighting for their basic rights to sick pay and wages they can live on."

GMB said the demonstration had received the backing of the wider trade union movement, and that members of other trade unions would be joining the demonstration in solidarity with the ISS employees at the hospital.

Croyden North MP Steve Reed (Labour) and GMB General Secretary Tim Roache are also expected to show their support by attending the protest, GMB said.

ISS meanwhile said that their employees at Kingston hospital were affiliated with the UNISON trade union rather than GMB, and that they were in talks with UNISON regarding working conditions at the site.

The ISS statement read: "We are disappointed that GMB continues to demonstrate outside the hospital, when they are not the lawfully recognised trade union for ISS employees at Kingston, thereby undermining our relationship with a fellow TUC affiliated, national trade union who represent our employees' interests with us. We intend to continue our dialogue, working in partnership with UNISON which has, over the years, been of significant benefit to our employees.

"Our employees enjoy terms and conditions of service which compare favourably with employers in our sector and, more widely with employers in the UK."

Speaking to the Comet in response to the ISS statement, Ms O'Connor said that both unions represented ISS workers at the hospital.

"The majority of ISS cleaning, catering and portering staff at Kingston hospital are registered with (GMB). ISS are currently refusing to recognize GMB even though we have the bulk of the (union) membership. They offered us recognition this week but said we must stop all forms of political campaigning."

With regards to the sick-pay issue, Ms O'Connor added that ISS managers or 'salaried staff' all get sick pay from the moment they join the company, while ISS porters, caterers and cleaners at the site must wait to accrue sick pay 'credits' before receiving sick pay.

Ms O'Connor said: "All the managers get full sick pay from day one, it's just the workforce delivering the service who are on this inferior sick pay scheme."