Wiltshire

Great Western Hospital strike threat over 'bullying'

Support workers at Swindon's Great Western Hospital are to ballot for strike action over alleged managerial "bullying and harassment".

Union GMB wants Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to investigate allegations against contractor Carillion, which employs 150 members at the hospital.

GMB general secretary Paul Kenny said: "There is no place in a modern health service for bullying or harassment."

A Carillion spokesperson said it "takes matters of this nature very seriously".

GMB said Mr Kenny had met union members at the hospital for a private meeting on Monday where he was told of a large number of problems they had experienced with Carillion managers.

'Take action'

The union claims he was told of the contractor's "failure to deal properly with concerns over holiday arrangements, shift arrangements and general consultation with the staff".

Instead, they face "a culture of bullying, harassment and discrimination", the union said.

"Either the trust takes action about this or the union members will," said Mr Kenny.

Oonagh Fitzgerald, Director of Workforce and Education at the Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: "Allegations made by a member of staff of a contractor, or other third party are the responsibility of the company concerned.

"In this instance we are confident that if the union provides information to support the allegations then they will be investigated openly and fairly by Carillion."

'Thorough investigation'

The 150 GMB members Carillion employs at the hospital work in a variety of support roles such as catering, cleaning and as porters.

A Carillion spokesperson said: "We have a long history of excellent employee relations with our staff at the Great Western Hospital and are very disappointed to hear of the allegations.

"We take matters of this nature very seriously and have well-established processes under which our employees are encouraged to come forward with any concerns they may have, so that allegations of this kind can be thoroughly investigated.

"However, as we have not received the allegations to which the GMB refers, we cannot comment further at this stage."

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