A hospital worker in Woolwich claims he has been denied a face mask by his contractor and now faces the sack after raising the PPE issue with his manager.

The man, who collects rubbish at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, says he faces the sack after having a dispute with his contractor about the lack of PPE provision for staff at the hospital.

ISS, the contractor for all facility services such as cleaning and portering at Lewisham and Greenwich hospitals, denies this, stating that any investigation of the employee is completely unrelated to Covid-19, and that PPE is being adequately provided to staff.

GMB branded the situation as "simply staggering."

The worker under investigation said he threatened to walk out of the hospital after being told he couldn't wear a mask.

The man lives with his brother, who is at high risk from coronavirus, and told his ISS management that he concerned he would catch the virus and fatally pass it on to his brother.

In the dispute which ensued, he was told by ISS that they had instigated disciplinary proceedings against him for 'violent behaviour'.

The company accuse him of aggressive behaviour, which the worker strongly denies, and that the case has nothing to do with PPE.

GMB organiser Helen O'Connor said that it was "simply staggering" that a complaint about a lack of PPE in hospitals can lead to worker being disciplined.

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“Now more than ever employers should be doing everything in their power to ensure that hospital staff don’t contract or transmit the virus.

“They should be taking all steps necessary to assist the NHS to retain the staff needed to keep the hospital safe during this pandemic.

“GMB will vigorously protect members’ health and safety in the workplace where it is being threatened by poor practice. Any member who feels their health and safety is being put at risk though a lack of PPE should contact us immediately."

An spokesperson for the privatecontractor said: "ISS is following all Covid-19 guidelines as set by the government and working very closely with Public Health England and the NHS to ensure that our employees are protected and are as safe as possible.

"Our employees are provided with the appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), in accordance with their role and in line with government guidelines.

"The investigation of the employee referred to is unrelated to Covid-19, or with regards to PPE."