Complaints over poor conditions the tip of iceberg

The 36 Filipino nurses who walked out on their private sector employer last
week claiming exploitative work arrangements are just the tip of the iceberg,
warns Unison.

The nurses were recruited in February by Wilton House, which runs four
nursing homes in Hertfordshire, but they left claiming they were forced to work
long hours on low pay, with contracts that stipulated they would be sacked if
they joined a union.

Unison found work for the nurses with NHS hospitals before advising them to
leave the homes.

Karen Jennings, the union’s head of nursing, said, "It is a significant
problem and a growing trend. We dealt with one case last month, and we’re
currently involved in three more. As the issue receives greater prominence,
more overseas nurses are going to come forward."

Seventeen of the nurses are going through the recruitment process at the
East and North Hertfordshire NHS Hospital Trust, which already employs 158 Filipino

Gloria Barber, head of HR at the hospital, said it has a 13 per cent vacancy
rate in nursing positions and the new nurses will provide a short-term

Once at the hospital, the Filipino nurses will go on an adaptation course
overseen by senior nurses, providing support and training in their first six

Barking, Havering and Redbridge NHS Trust will employ the other 19 nurses.

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