A petition has been launched pressuring the NHS to bring in a pay rise and to scrap "poverty pay" for support staff at Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

The campaign calls on Lewisham and Greenwich NHS to demand a pay increase for staff provided by private contracting service ISS Group.

The petition, started by three Labour candidates for Greenwich in the upcoming election, reads: "We are calling on Lewisham & Greenwich NHS Trust to demand that the ISS Group pay staff a London Living Wage.

"The private contracting company the ISS Group employs hospital cleaning, portering and security staff at the Queen Elizabeth and many other hospitals across the UK.

"The group announced profits of over £500 million in their 2017 annual report, yet they continue to pay poverty wages to staff who play a key role in helping to support the running of our NHS."

According to the petition organisers, staff are paid just £7.88 an hour - below the London Living Wage.

A protest, organised by hospital worker union GMB, was held in a similar vain last December.

GMB, which has 639,000 members, also said workers were being paid £7.88 an hour, as well as being followed into toilets or having pay withheld.

Campaigners dressed up as Santa pigs and descended upon the hospital, sparking a reply from ISS who said at the time: "The grounds on which the demonstration is being organised is flawed and not factually correct.

"ISS pays the same rate of pay as the NHS; we have no zero hour contracts and the NHS terms and conditions apply to the majority of our employees in this sector."

This current petition, started on March 18, has an aim of 500 signatures.

A spokesman for Lewisham and Greenwich NHS trust said staff conditions will be part of a discussion when the contract ends next month.

He said: "We are currently retendering the contract for support services at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, which is due for renewal in April 2019.

"Terms and conditions for staff will be considered as part of the overall contract during this process."

Queen Elizabeth Hospital was slammed by healthcare inspectors last year, being rated as requiring improvement.

The petition, started by Greenwich Labour candidates Mariam Lolavar, Leo Fletcher & Sabiha Shahzad, can be found here.

ISS has not responded to News Shopper for a further comment.