Employees at Kingston Hospital joined with the GMB union to protest outside their private contractor's offices at Canary Wharf today.

In recent months GMB and cleaners, caterers and porters employed by ISS at Kingston Hospital have staged protests against the private contractor to demand the company pay all its employees the London Living Wage and a more robust sick pay scheme.

Dozens of protestors and supporters gathered on the plaza outside South Quay Building at Canary Wharf Tuesday morning (February 19) for the demonstration.

They brought megaphones, banners and placards bearing slogans like: "Stop taking the *ISS, pay London Living Wage and sick pay now."

The demonstrators also protested alongside a giant inflatable rat. GMB announced ahead of the demo the rat would represent the health risk it says is posed by ISS policies towards cleaners, caterers and porters.

Speaking in a video GMB Southern posted to their Twitter account, Regional Organizer Helen O'Connor said that ISS had created a cross-infection risk at the hospital by effectively cajoling low-paid staff to work despite being ill.

Ms O'Connor said: "ISS don't pay their workers sick pay from day one. Their workers are very poorly paid — they're not paid the London Living Wage. This means that when they get sick, they don't get paid, so they're forced to go into work while they're sick. This is a cross-infection risk for patients in our hospitals and it is something GMB are very concerned about.

The GMB representative added that ISS did have enhanced sick pay schemes in place for its higher-paid employees and questioned this discrepancy.

Ms O'Connor said: "Private companies make millions our of our hospitals. All the managers get sick from day one at ISS, so why can't the hospital's porters, cleaners and caterers get sick pay from day one?"

ISS has maintained that the sick pay scheme in place for its employees at Kingston Hospital compares favourably to others in the same sector. They have also declined to recognize GMB as the official union of their employees at Kingston Hospital, and maintain that another trade union — UNISON — represents their employees there.

Earlier this month, the dispute was raised at Prime Ministers' Questions in the House of Commons by Croydon North MP Steve Reed, who represents some of the ISS employees involved in the dispute.

Mr Reed said that ISS had threatened to break off all negotiations with its employees and GMB unless they stopped their political campaigning on the issue.

David Lidington, the Conservative MP and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, who stood in for Prime Minister Theresa May during the debate, said that Health Secretary Matt Hancock would consult with Mr Reed on the issue in detail.

Mr Lidington added that any attempt to block constituents from access to their MP might be considered contempt of parliament.