Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/307/12645
Kick Low Pay Out Of The NHS
PORTERS AND domestics at Royal Bolton Hospital are striking against poverty pay employers ISS Mediclean. The strikers are demanding £5.60 an hour for porters and £5 for domestics and are receiving massive public support.
Hugh Caffrey, Manchester Socialist Party
Low-paid health workers in Whipps Cross hospital, East London are also fighting ISS. And in north Lincolnshire there is a similar battle with contractor Carillion. The need for a generalised fightback by the unions is clear.
The strikers' mood is determined, in Bolton the 98% 'yes' vote for action shows their will to win. But ISS is bent on breaking this dispute. Scabs are being bussed in from elsewhere in Lancashire, from Yorkshire and even flown in from Ireland! They are paid £5 an hour, the union's demand.
Managers and supervisors are being drafted in as well - none of the scabs have proper training and are breaking all the Trust's own rules let alone those of the union. Scabs are openly transporting contaminated waste in wheelbarrows!
There has been strong support from other sections of UNISON, with more promised. UNISON should build on this support with concrete plans for action against ISS on a national level - this will strengthen the local disputes and reduce the ability of ISS to bus in scabs from other places.
Public support has been massive - over £2,000 was raised on the first two days of strike action, almost every car toots its support to the strikers.
Do any readers have any information about ISS Mediclean? Whatever you know will help. Please send it, along with messages of support, to: Union office, Royal Bolton Hospital, Farnworth, Bolton, BL4 0JR. Send copies to the Socialist Party at PO Box 24697, London E11 1YD.
More action at Whipps Cross
THE WHIPPS Cross workers have voted for further strike action on 10 - 11 July and 24 - 26 July.
This is in spite of attempts by management to intimidate the workers, including questioning some of the workers' immigration status. The union is also considering other forms of action, including a boycott of the staff canteen, which would hit ISS's profits.
The Trust and the Strategic Health Authority have recognised that "low pay is a problem" in the hospital, so the campaign has already been vindicated. The Agenda For Change job evaluation scheme says these workers should be paid £5.35 an hour.
Messages of support and donations to: Len Hockey, UNISON office, Whipps Cross Hospital, Leytonstone, London E11 1NR. Cheques payable to: UNISON ISS Whipps Cross Hardship Fund.
In The Socialist 5 July 2003: