Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/10823
Hospital cleaners in Southampton take strike action
"What do we want? Back pay! When do we want it, now!" chanted cleaners as they marched around Southampton General hospital on the morning of 15 December.
Hundreds of NHS cleaners, employed by Compass Medirest, came out on a 48 hour strike this morning in Southampton and Buckinghamshire.
In Bucks they were joined by porters and catering staff. They are fighting for money owed to them since 2006.
Jo Spear, Unison steward and domestic at Southampton General said:
"In 2006 the Trust was given money by the government to implement Agenda for Change but it never came to us, the domestics were the only ones left out.
"We had a demo in July and they implemented the changes from October 1st for sick pay and back pay from May 1st but we haven't accepted this as a settlement.
"We want full back pay.
"Everyone is very angry that the Trust had the money but didn't hand it over.
"Full time workers have lost £3,500 over the four years.
"Talks with ACAS got snowed off and are rescheduled for January but if there are no talks there will be a further two day strike.
"I'm very proud of everyone that has come out and stood together."
Compass Medirest made profits of £773 million last year.
The erosion of pay, terms and conditions is a clear product of privatisation carried out under New Labour and now continuing under the Con-Dems.
Massive attacks are being waged on the NHS under the bogus argument that there is no money.
The best way to ensure all health workers receive decent pay and conditions would be to kick the private profiteers like Compass out of the NHS.
The fight for decent pay must be linked to the fight to save jobs and services in the NHS.
The fighting mood of these workers shows the potential that exists to build a mass campaign to defend the NHS and all public sector jobs and services.
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