Kingston Hospital workers and the GMB union continued their campaign against the ISS private contractor as the hospital board met this week.

Cleaners, porters, caterers and security staff were joined by campaigners and an inflatable rat on Wednesday (March 28), picketing outside Kingston Hospital NHS Trust during a board meeting.

The coalition of union organizers and ISS employees at Kingston Hospital is campaigning for improved sick pay and the London Living Wage for all ISS staff at the hospital.

ISS hold service contracts for these workers at the hospital.

The rat, which made a return appearance following a February demonstration outside ISS offices in Canary Wharf, represented the public health risks posed by ISS sick pay schemes, GMB said.

Campaigners argue that ISS do not pay those employees fair sick pay from Day One on the job — forcing them to accrue sick pay "credits" instead — and come into work even if they fall ill, before they can receive any sick pay.

Croydon North MP Steve Reed (Labour) supports the campaign and met with GMB representatives and Health Secretary Matt Hancock earlier this month.

GMB Southern Regional Organizer Helen O'Connor said: "It is of grave concern to GMB Union that outsourced hospital workers find themselves in such an impoverished position financially that they are forced to work in a hospital environment when they are sick themselves.

"This puts hospital patients at direct risk of cross infection so the #kingstonhospcampaign is about every patient’s fundamental right to be treated in a safe hospital environment."

ISS have suggested that GMB are not the official union of their employees at Kingston Hospital.

The company argue the sick pay scheme in question compares favourably to other models in the industry.

ISS have previously threatened to break off any negotiations with staff if political campaigning did not cease, leading Conservative Cabinet Minister David Lidington to suggest they could be held in contempt of parliament after the issue was raised by Mr Reed during Prime Minister's Questions last month.

Meanwhile, GMB are planning to set up foodbanks in the region to help support ISS workers.

The union have said that ISS pay their contract workers at the hospital so little, and without sufficient sick pay, that some could require the donations available at foodbanks in order to get by.