Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/25237

Posted on 8 April 2017 at 15:09 GMT

Victory! Health workers walk out against attack from new boss

Health workers marching on the demo for the NHS, 4.3.17, photo Mary Finch

Health workers marching on the demo for the NHS, 4.3.17, photo Mary Finch   (Click to enlarge)

Waltham Forest reporters

Health workers are ready to defend their rights! That was the unmistakable message from the 160 domestics who walked off the floor at the Royal London hospital in Whitechapel, part of Barts Trust, London, on Thursday 6 April.

Their new employer, the privateer vulture contractor Serco, thought it could set the tone for workplace relations by withdrawing the 15 minute paid morning tea-break on its first day. But Serco had another think coming! By 4.30pm Serco said it was going to 'consult' on the plan and would hold off. Workers will now need to organise to make this retreat permanent.

The backdrop to Serco's attempted onslaught is what the Telegraph described as "onerous contracts that have been a drain on the company's profits". It clearly thought this 600 million contract could boost its profits - especially by squeezing more out of the workers.

At Whipps (also part of the Barts NHS Trust) Unite members won a fantastic victory ending zero-hours contracts and winning a 20% pay-rise for low-paid workers bringing them up to the London living wage under contractors Carillion. Carillion was then dismissed and the contract given to Serco. Carillion had even interviewed workers but didn't proceed to selection stage when they got the news that they'd lost the business.

Serco now seem to be labouring under the impression that they can just roll back these gains. At Whipps this vicious profiteer is looking to make cuts to hours, pay and jobs.

But Unite the Union has been building on the victory at Whipps to show what's possible. Following the Whipps win (of 9.75 per hour, as much as 2 per hour increase for many) this was then fought for and won for all agency and bank workers indirectly employed by Serco in Barts, Mile End and Royal London hospitals who had in some cases been on minimum rates for six years. Also benefiting were workers on permanent contracts whose combined hourly rate and London weighting element was under 9.75.

Unite have been building across the Barts Trust, organising a pay campaign which given the pay freeze in the NHS is a big issue for all health workers. 500 new members have joined the union in the last months. The news that the nurses' union RCN is also considering a strike ballot over pay is a further indication of the readiness to fight among health workers.

Unite has submitted a 30p/hour pay claim to Serco from 1 April. The failed attack on the domestics' tea breaks was possibly an early test of whether workers and union would fight. Serco, while acknowledging the pay claim, have not as yet responded and the union branch is looking to ballot for strike action, subject to agreement at the upcoming branch meeting.

Following the fantastic communities-led 'Save our NHS' march on 4 March, a massive TUC national demonstration to save the NHS - mobilised for by all trade unions and by the Labour leadership - would give confidence to all workers fighting for our NHS.


Meeting: Fight for pay, jobs and services! Fight to save the NHS!

Hospital workers and all others interested are welcome to come to an informal discussion in the Whitechapel Ideas cafe, across the road from the Royal London, at 6pm on Wednesday 12th April.
Discuss with Len Hockey, Unite union branch secretary at Whipps Cross hospital (personal capacity) and other Socialist Party members.

This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 8 April 2017 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.






Related links:

London:

triangleHeating scandal on east London estate

triangleWaltham Forest Socialist Party: The national question

triangleWaltham Forest Socialist Party: The rise of Militant

triangleWaltham Forest Socialist Party: Report from Socialist Party congress

triangleWaltham Forest Socialist Party: 100 years of voting for women of property

Workers:

triangleCarillion and the construction industry

triangleFerrybridge: Workers down tools over unpaid wages

triangleTunisia: explosion of protests against government austerity

triangleOpinion: foster care is work - carers deserve workers' rights

Health:

triangleLobby pushes Liverpool council to oppose privatisation

triangleNHS crisis: under pressure from all angles - end cuts and sell-offs!

triangleDemonstration: NHS in crisis - fix it now!

Pay:

triangleHackney school cleaners strike

triangleSalford Socialist Party: Pay Up Now - Public sector workers need a pay rise!

NHS:

triangleClosure of Nottingham unit shows dismantling of NHS

Union:

triangleWorkplace news in brief

Unite:

triangleMini-strike wave continues and intensifies

Barts:

triangleSustained mass movement needed to stop Tories wrecking our NHS

Hospital:

triangleCarillion crisis: demand action to save jobs and services

Carillion:

triangle'Jubilant' hospital workers strike against poverty pay in east London

Jobs:

triangleRetail sector crunch: nationalise to save jobs

Strike:

triangleRMT strikes against driver-only operation continue

Cuts:

triangleCorbyn's Labour needs 100% anti-cuts strategy and fight for democracy

Labour:

triangleWe must fight all council cuts!

RCN:

triangleTories scrap the NHS pay cap: now fight for real-terms pay rises!

Nurses:

triangleNasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

Hospitals:

triangleSouth London health bosses' cover-up

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

17/1/18

Women

Socialist Party women's meeting brings together members to share experiences

17/1/18

Newham

Packed Newham meeting against academies

17/1/18

Liverpool

Lobby pushes Liverpool council to oppose privatisation

17/1/18

Barking

Heating scandal on east London estate

17/1/18

Policing

Undercover policing legal challenge

17/1/18

Woolwich

No to the Woolwich monster block

17/1/18

Union

Workplace news in brief

17/1/18

Union

PCS union 2018 elections - nominate the left slate for a continued fighting leadership

17/1/18

Hackney

Hackney school cleaners strike

17/1/18

RMT

RMT strikes against driver-only operation continue

17/1/18

Yorkshire

Ferrybridge: Workers down tools over unpaid wages

17/1/18

Cuts

We must fight all council cuts!

17/1/18

Socialist Party

Southern Socialist Party conference

16/1/18

Birmingham

Home care workers to strike

12/1/18

Waltham Forest

Outrage against 'monster block' plan

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle17 Jan Corbyn's Labour needs 100% anti-cuts strategy and fight for democracy

triangle17 Jan NHS crisis: under pressure from all angles - end cuts and sell-offs!

triangle17 Jan We must fight all council cuts!

triangle16 Jan Home care workers to strike

triangle15 Jan Carillion crisis: Demand action to save jobs and services

triangle12 Jan Outrage against 'monster block' plan

triangle12 Jan Mini-strike wave continues and intensifies

More ...

triangle23 Jan Bristol North Socialist Party: 'You can't have capitalism without racism' - was Malcolm X correct?

triangle23 Jan Cardiff West Socialist Party: How the Poll Tax was beaten

triangle24 Jan Caerphilly Socialist Party: The Carillion scandal

triangle24 Jan Cardiff Central Socialist Party: Carillion collapse - Watershed moment for public services

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

January 2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2