My name is Erica Rasheed and I am a security guard at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH). I am pregnant and about to head into what is set to be one of the longest security guards’ strikes in the history of the NHS. I need your support!
I am extremely proud to be a key worker, keeping staff and patients safe during this challenging pandemic. Yet I am part of a small group of workers in our building who are outsourced and on inferior contracts. This means that we get worse pay, worse benefits, worse conditions... and worst of all despite working in a hospital we do not receive full pay sick pay.
With our union United Voices of the World (UVW) we have been asking our bosses at the NHS to end this disparity and bring us in-house for months, but their lack of response has left us with no choice and from 18 January we will go on strike.
For a woman in my working situation, it gets worse. In seven months, I will give birth to my second child at an NHS hospital and like many women across the country, I will marvel at this wonderful service, which I’m proud to be a part of delivering.
But this will be a bittersweet moment, because I won’t be able to afford to stay with my newborn longer than the six weeks statutory maternity pay gives me. My NHS colleagues get to stay home for five months. They earn a whopping £2500 more during that time. From a woman’s perspective, this is what outsourcing looks like.
Our colleagues in-housed at the NHS who are on better conditions are mostly white. I am not, I am originally from Portugal, and my parents from Angola and Mozambique before me. Like many of my security guard colleagues, I came here to find a better life for me and my family, but also - like many others, I came to contribute to this country.
Last year, when the world woke up to the realities of racism, bosses at the NHS made nice sounding pledges about how to address ‘structural racism’, but nothing has changed for us so far. In fact, since we started our campaign for equality we have been subjected to vile racist slurs as part of union-busting attacks.
We want the same treatment as the rest of the NHS family!
We want the same treatment as the doctors, nurses, cleaners, porters we work alongside!
This includes: sick and injury pay, overtime and unsociable enhanced rate of pay, annual leave entitlement, enhanced maternity cover, employer pension contributions, flat hourly rates of pay and career development.
We want an end to this racial discrimination!
At GOSH, the NHS bosses have an opportunity to put their money where their mouth is by bringing us in house now!
WHERE THE MONEY GOES
Going on strike is a last resort. We tried talking to them, but the bosses refused to negotiate with us.
The funds we raise will be used to help us cover our lost wages for as long as possible.
I am calling on you all to chip in because striking is going to be hard on us.
Please give generously to help us, the GOSH security guards, win equality with the rest of the NHS staff!