Freedom News

Cleaners confront Great Ormond Street Hospital over years of “institutional racism”

Yesterday brought a momentous ten-day tribunal hearing where Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) faces a first of a kind group claim for indirect race discrimination brought by 80 Black, brown and migrant cleaners.

For decades, the cleaners were outsourced on lesser terms and conditions than other directly employed GOSH workers, which led to a dispute between UVW and GOSH in 2020 over the structural inequality the hospital workers have faced. In 2021, the GOSH cleaners forced the hospital to ditch its cleaning private contractor and employ them as NHS workers.

Contracts for NHS staff are governed by the 2004 Agenda for Change (AfC) which provides much better conditions than privately outsourced workers. Now, the cleaners want compensation for the years they were employed privately under inferior terms. If the court finds in favour of the workers, each claimant could be awarded between £80,000 and £190,000 each. 

This is the first time a lawsuit of this type has been brought against an NHS Trust. UVW is hopeful the claim will succeed following the ground-breaking legal precedent set against the Royal Parks.

Genevieve, one of the claimants and a UVW member, said from the court today:

“Although I am very nervous, I am standing up for my rights because we’ve been cheated for a very long time and this has made me feel very bad at work. I hope we win the case, whatever happens my union is excellent, UVW always has our back and to GOSH, you need to do the right thing and recognise my union.

“The only way to fight discrimination at work is to get together and join a union. A union, like UVW, that will fight with you shoulder to shoulder. The cleaners at GOSH know this now. We stood firm and we fought to be brought back in house and we won. Now we will use the courts to right an injustice.”

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