Agenda item

Security Staff at the Royal Berkshire Hospital

Councillor Hoskin to move:


This Council notes:

-          That security staff perform vital frontline tasks to protect patients and staff at the Royal Berkshire Hospital and are subject to extra pressures and dangers at this time owing to the pandemic.

-          That there is ongoing industrial strike action by Royal Berkshire Hospital’s security guards, who are employed by Kingdom Security in an outsourced arrangement by the NHS hospital trust at an annual cost of over £750,000.

-          That the dispute is about the terms and conditions of these staff. The current remuneration is £9.12 (£10.18 for supervisors) an hour compared to far higher rates of pay for security guards on other less dangerous local sites.

-          That there are no night pay or weekend rates and, for non-TUPE’d staff, there is no sick pay. Kingdom Security has an annual turnover of over £100 million.

-          That the number of security guards employed at the hospital has been cut from 31 in 2008 to 21 in 2021, equating to a ratio of 1,000 staff, 500 outpatients and 160 in-patients for one security officer per day. This has resulted in increased and more intense workloads.

-          That the contract with Kingdom Security is scheduled to end later this year.

-          That Kingdom Security has had to be pressurised into accepting any kind of mediation, and that ACAS is now involved.

-          That during the dispute, the use of agency security staff at a premium rate are being used as a temporary measure.


This Council believes that:

-          The general public, staff and patients expect that all frontline workers at our local hospital should be paid fairly for the difficult work they are doing, particularly at this time.

-          The demand for £12 per hour, and £13 per hour for supervisors, is justified and equates to band 3 on the NHS pay scale.

-          It is unethical to contract out to companies where the terms and conditions are so poor and not properly protected.

-          The use of temporary and expensive agency staff is not in itself a solution and compromises the security of staff and patients.


Consequently, this Council resolves to:

-          Support the cause of the Security Guards and requests all the parties to arrive at a just solution in order to end the dispute.

-          Welcome the involvement of ACAS in seeking to bring the parties together to end the dispute.

-          Request that the Leader of the Council write to the Chief Executive Officer of the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust calling on the Trust to urgently review its contracting arrangements to ensure that future contracts are ethical, to consider bringing the security staffing contract in-house when possible, and to ask the Trust to use its influence to encourage Kingdom Security to resolve the dispute.

-          Request that the Leader of the Council write to Kingdom Security urging it to consider the level of danger and risk that its staff are taking in their duties, and to adjust their profit margins to meet the reasonable case being made by the staff.