Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/702/13590
Defend Len Hockey: Outrageous attack on Whipps Cross hospital workers
A Unison member
Shock and outrage by porters, domestics and switchboard staff at Whipps Cross hospital east London, greeted the news of the threat by Initial Facilities to discipline Unison joint branch secretary Len Hockey.
In a move clearly aimed at trying to intimidate the workforce, Len has been invited to attend an investigation hearing on 30 January in connection with his role as lead representative for these staff. This comes on the back of attacks by the company in the recent weeks.
These include making domestic supervisors and help desk staff redundant and the demotion of deputy head portering grades. The workers have also experienced a big increase in the number of disciplinary measures they have been subjected to over the recent months.
The fighting record of these staff was shown in two rounds of strike action over the past years. This succeeded in eliminating inequality of treatment among workers and secured harmonised pay and conditions with NHS staff. It earned the branch first prize nationally for organising and recruitment.
Len, a porter at the hospital for 23 years, went on to describe workers' anger turning to revulsion when his members informed him over the weekend of a letter sent to them and which he had not seen.
This is from the Unison Greater London region. The letter, signed by the regional organiser and sent to Len's members but addressed to Len, attacked and misrepresented his campaigning record in what appears to be a deliberate attempt to drive a wedge between the members and Len himself.
"With cuts and all the daily problems workers face, the last thing you would expect is a blow from behind," Len commented. "This act points up the urgent need for all union officials to be elected, paid a wage in line with the members they represent and held to account - particularly to our low paid members as is the case here". He added: "A campaign and response to these attacks is now set to take place."
- Please send protests at the threat of disciplinary action, which we believe is an attempt to break the ability of the union branch to fight the cuts: to the employer Initial: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org and to Whipps Cross hospital trust: email@example.com
- Please send copies of protests to London Unison region, with a note to the region to say that you expect Unison to vigorously defend Len from the attack by his employer: firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
Also send copies to Len Hockey at firstname.lastname@example.org
In The Socialist 25 January 2012:
Socialist Party editorial
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party feature
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news