MOUNDS of clinical waste were left to pile up outside a hospital as vital workers went on strike against “slave-like” working conditions and zero-hours contracts.

A porter revealed shocking photos of the hazardous waste left outside Whipps Cross Hospital, in Leytonstone, while contracted workers went on strike.

Backed by union Unite, cleaners, catering and security staff and porters were demanding “respect” from their employers at the picket line yesterday (July 13).

Barts Health Trust, which manages Whipps Cross, contracts Serco to hire the workers.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series:

Hospital workers demanded 'respect'

Their importance is often overlooked, but they remain a vital cog in the hospital machine.

At yesterday’s protest, they could hardly go unnoticed as they waved flags and blasted music from speakers.

The Serco staff were calling for an extra 30p to bring their hourly wages to £10, and to end zero-hours contracts for porters.

A Serco spokesman said the contractor has helped the hospital “operate as normal” during the strike by drawing on its “wider Serco team”.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series:

Clinical waste builds up 

Yet at the strike, Ben Lottrie, a porter hired for Serco, revealed shocking photos showing the contractor breaking its promise to the hospital.

“They said they could take care of everything while we went out on strike but clearly they can’t.

“They’re not doing what they promised. With the rubbish the way it is, it’s hazardous.

“That’s how infections get spread.”

The 25-year-old father then demanded an end to porters being put on zero-hours contracts.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series:

Unite union backed the protest

He added: “They are treating us like slaves as we work for peanuts.

“With the amount of work we do, we should get paid respectfully for it.

“They’re cutting back people when we need more. They’re trying to change our rotas and not taking into consideration our family commitments.”

A Serco spokesman said they were currently consulting on changes to its portering structure at the hospital.

But the spokesman confirmed Serco has “no plans” to reduce the number of “permanent porters” it employs at Whipps Cross.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series:

Hazardous waste out in the open

The spokesman added: “We have taken steps to improve job security by moving 49 staff onto guaranteed hours contracts from the zero hours contracts used by the previous service providers.

In the dispute over pay, Phil Mitchell, Serco Contract Director said: “In agreement with the Trust, we guaranteed to pay our staff at least the London Living Wage of £9.75/hr from day one of our contract, which resulted in an average increase in pay of 3.5% for over 110 permanent staff.

“For those staff on higher salaries, we have protected all their terms and conditions and offered a pay increase for this year which is the same as that received by other NHS colleagues.

“We are determined to continue providing a safe and caring environment for patients and we have robust plans in place to ensure we are supporting the Trust’s hospitals to operate as normal during Unite’s action.”

Serco today confirmed the waste was cleared.