From the 1970s to the present


Case studies

This dispute took place in the context of subcontracting of cleaning services at Hillingdon Hospital in London and the resulting squeeze on workers’ wages. In October 1994, Pall Mall Healthcare Support Services won a contract to provide cleaning services at the Hillingdon hospital. It sent a letter to all workers on 3 October 1994, assuring them that their terms and conditions would remain the same.

One year later, a number of workers received a letter notifying them about a new contract of employment. This contract introduced new pay and conditions, reduced holidays and sick pay and wage cuts of between £25 and £40 a week for the cleaners, who were already receiving very low wages.

 a leaflet outlining the stand  taken by the cleaners at Hillingdon hospital against privatisation

Fifty–five mainly South Asian women members of the UNISON union refused to sign the new employment contract and went on strike. The company responded by sacking them. In May 1998, the  Hillingdon strikers won their case against Pall Mall at the Employment Tribunal and were awarded re-engagement to their jobs. But the company appealed against the decision. The following year, in July 1999, the strikers won the appeal and were awarded the maximum compensation. In August 2000, the Hillingdon strikers began to be offered their jobs back, some five years after they were unfairly dismissed in 1995.