Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/303/13769
No To Poverty Pay In The NHS
- No more privatisation
- For a fully funded health service, publicly owned and controlled
HEALTH WORKERS at Whipps Cross Hospital in East London were on strike for two days last week as they fought for a living wage. Employed by giant multinational contractors ISS, they are paid less than even the low wages of NHS staff whose jobs were privatised originally.
Preliminary meetings with the employers were planned as we went to press but workers at the inspiring picket line rally on 28 May spoke to the socialist.
"We get £4.62 an hour. But we have to feed 24 patients and we have to clean the ward. It's too much work and we only get peanuts money. We're too tired to work overtime to make any more money. The company sucks our blood.
"We haven't got only one manager, we've got 20 managers. They all tell us what to do. One says: 'This ward is very dirty', one says: 'You have to clean the beds', one says: 'You have to clean the fridge' and all you can say is: 'yes, yes, yes'."
Peran, a domestic
"WE'RE ON strike for the future of the hospital and the whole of east London. Whipps Cross is a big hospital and people do care for other people here. We want a fairer wage and we're making a stand. If people carry on letting things go by, everyday people, people like me and you will just be walked over. You can see by the turnout here today that people do believe in our campaign and we're all here as a team."
"WE DON'T get fair pay. We should all get a decent wage and decent rights. They treat us badly, if we come in a bit late they just send us home. So we're fighting for our rights. We all work very hard here and we don't get paid properly."
"MY NAME'S Trevor and I've worked in the hospital since 1978. When I had an accident five years ago Tarmac [the previous contractors] weren't interested.
If I had an accident tomorrow ISS would just try to sweep it under the carpet. We need more money . I get £321 a fortnight and it isn't enough. I think ISS are as bad as the Prime Minister - they get all the money and we get poverty wages."
Messages of support to: Len Hockey, UNISON office, 020 8535 6496. Unisonunion@tiscali.co.uk
Donations to "East London Healthworkers Solidarity Fund", UNISON office, Mile End Hospital, Bancroft Road, London E1 4DG.
In The Socialist 7 June 2003: