An Open Letter to Terry Barton, Chief Executive, Kingdom Services Group

Kingdom Services Group Security Personnel, Royal Berkshire Hospital: Unite the Union Industrial Action

Since 14 December 2020, security personnel at Kingdom Services Group, the sub-contracted security providers for the Royal Berkshire Hospital (RBH), have been in dispute with their employer over pay and conditions. We, the undersigned, assert our support for the striking workers as organised by Unite the Union.

The Kingdom security officers and supervisors are striking for a wage of £12 and £13 per hour, respectively, and are seeking harmonisation of sick pay and enhanced pay for staff working nights, weekends and overtime. Their employer has refused to consider any of these claims and has, furthermore, resorted to the use of agency staff in an attempt to undermine the strike. We are shocked by such behaviour from an employer towards their employees, especially as, according to the last published Government report on COVID19 fatalities by industry, “men working as security guards had the highest rate, with 74.0 deaths per 100,000”. Security staff at RBH ARE FRONTLINE WORKERS.

We condemn:

  • Kingdom’s failure to acknowledge the particular vulnerability of their staff in the face of the COVID19 pandemic in their terms and conditions of employment;
  • Kingdom’s refusal to enter into talks with Unite to settle this dispute; and
  • Kingdom’s use of agency staff as a strike-breaking tactic.

We call on Kingdom Services Group to sit down with Unite to settle this dispute with a fair offer at the earliest opportunity – not an unreasonable expectation from “a global organisation with a £100 million annual turnover”. We request the RBH Board of Directors and the RBH Council of Governors to use their influence to persuade Kingdom to enter into meaningful talks with Unite to settle a dispute which directly involves the interests of RBH patients.

If Kingdom refuse to settle this dispute through meaningful dialogue with Unite, we will continue to support the 10 days of strike action scheduled to take place between 1 and 12 February.

Yours sincerely

Cllr Sarah Hacker RDLP Chair
Dr John Partington RDLP Trade Union Liaison Officer
Helen Caney RDLP Secretary
Matthew Harrison RDLP Campaign Officer
Dr Anthony Bardos RDLP Treasurer
Angie Burnish RDLP Disability Officer
Chris Reilly RDLP Fundraising and Events Officer
Gareth Langston Policy Officer
Dr Alessandra Borlotti Women’s Officer
Jackie Oversby Political Education Officer

Matt Rodda MP Labour Member of Parliament, Reading East

Cllr Jason Brock Leader, Reading Borough Council
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Cllr Jo Lovelock
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