A foodbank was set up for ISS employees at Kingston Hospital as their dispute with the private contractor continued.

ISS employs cleaning, catering and security staff at Kingston Hospital NHS Trust, and is accused by its employees and the GMB Union representing them of failing to provide adequate sick pay schemes and wages.

On Friday (May 24) GMB helped set up a foodbank to provide essential items to ISS employees, many of whom attended to receive food parcels on offer at the location in Kingston.

As the Surrey Comet reported earlier this year, the workers have said they are struggling to make ends meet after ISS changed its payroll scheme, described by the corporation as an "upgrade".

Unions including GMB said the move caused some ISS workers to lose a week's pay and forced them into accepting "bridging loans" which then had to be paid back to the company.

Speaking about the foodbank initiative, Helen O’Connor, GMB's Organiser in the region said ISS's "upgrade" to its payroll had been disastrous for many of its employees in the area.

"The impact of disastrous pay cycle changes and being forced to pay back unaffordable ISS loans of their own wages has hit the Kingston Hospital workforce hard.

"It is an outrage that these hard working hospital staff have to decide between paying the rent or buying food and this is why GMB Union is forced to step in," Ms O'Connor said.

She added that the union had raised the issue with Kingston Hospital and had scheduled talks with the Trust's leadership for next month, over fears ISS employees working their could face destitution.

Ms O'Connor said: "We have raised this with Kingston NHS Trust, addressed the trust board and we have further talks set for June but our members face hunger and homelessness so GMB is forced to intervene now."

In a statement about the pay cycle changes released by ISS earlier this month, a spokesperson said: "Currently we operate 15 different pay cycles which is complex to manage. To prepare us for the transition to the new payroll system...we are moving to just one fortnightly pay cycle and one monthly pay cycle.

"We strongly believe this will benefit our employees as it will give more clarity on what an employee will be paid, and when, as there will be more time to check and process pay."