The NHS mobile testing and tracing units run by Mitie cut workers’ guaranteed wages by a third after winning a new government contract.
The outsourcing company, which employs around 1,000 people at mobile testing sites, told workers that from November 8, they will have guaranteed wages for an eight-hour shift per day, at instead of 12 hours, reducing the secure pay to Â£ 80 per day from Â£ 120.
Workers used to receive the Â£ 120 regardless of the number of hours worked, now they will only receive extra pay if they work more than eight hours.
Workers said the pay change came amid an increase in demand for their services, with some sites processing more than 600 people a day.
A worker said some supervisors were so busy they didn’t have time to take the statutory half-hour break.
Another said mobile test and traceability workers had suffered “a morale blow” because of the pay changes that hit shortly before Christmas.
âPersonally, I feel betrayed and considered disposable by Mitie. The changes mean that everyone will lose hundreds of dollars in earnings each month, while those who live closest to and farthest from our locations will lose a lot more with the new mileage proposals.
âThe awkward way Mitie delivered this and their poor communication with the employees is just shocking,â the worker said.
The latest cuts come after fellow mobile testing and traceability operator G4S slashed some workers’ wages by up to 5% in light of a new government contract that specifies they should receive the actual living wage.
Some G4S workers have been told their hourly pay rate will drop from Â£ 10 to a maximum of Â£ 9.50 outside London, a 5% cut. Those in London will drop from a high of Â£ 11 an hour to Â£ 10.85, down 1.4%.
Mitie said there were no standard hours for mobile test units and times could change depending on a range of factors, including location and weather.
He said workers would be paid for the time elapsed between the mobile unit’s departure from its base location and its return. They will also now receive payment for travel expenses – 45 pence per mile from the test base – as well as expenses such as parking fees as defined by the government. He said that previously these costs were factored into the workers’ daily rate.
A spokesperson for Mitie said: “We are introducing new procedures to ensure a consistent and fair approach to payment terms for all colleagues working in mobile test units.
âThese changes better reflect average shift lengths while ensuring that colleagues are paid for any overtime worked, as well as their business mileage and other associated driving expenses. “
Mitie said he was tasked with paying the travel costs by the government.
The UK Health Safety Agency, which was established this year to replace Public Health England in managing public health protection and treatment of infectious diseases, is expected to review its position on travel costs and payment terms have not yet been agreed. with all operators.
G4S did not respond directly when asked if it plans to pay its employees’ travel expenses.
A spokesperson said: “The terms and conditions of our team members will remain in accordance with government guidelines and our contractual requirements, as has always been the case throughout the delivery of this important contract.”