Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/499/3067
NGH hospital Sheffield: Pay cuts "the thin end of the wedge"
TO USE New Labour Health Secretary Alan Johnson's own words, staff working in bulk stores at Sheffield's Northern General Hospital are definitely "not happy bunnies". Not when they face imposed pay cuts of up to £3,000 or £4,000 a year, due to the Trust withdrawing long-established bonuses and allowances.
That is why the 15 bulk stores staff, UNISON members, voted for strike action which began with a one-day strike on 20 August.
Gary Sellars, who has worked in bulk stores for 20 years, told the socialist: "The performance-related bonus and attendance allowance makes up a fifth of my wage. It's equal to my mortgage payment. Last year, the Trust put up staff car parking charges which for us low-paid took up all our pay rise. Now this is a pay cut of 20%, it's like no pay rise for the next ten years.
"There's a sign up in the hospital saying '125 years - from Workhouse to Foundation hospital'. It seems like they're trying to take us back there in ten years!
"The Trust says it's got to have value for money. Then Mr Cash, the chief executive, should take a 20% pay cut, that would be £30 - £35K. The Trust says they need to save £90 million over three years - they're not going to get it from 15 stores staff are they?
"No, this is the thin end of the wedge. If they get away with cutting our pay then bigger departments will face pay cuts next."
That's why around 50 NGH UNISON members joined the picket line for a dinner-time solidarity rally. If the Trust bosses don't budge, three more strikes are planned.
In The Socialist 24 August 2007:
Socialist Party Marxist analysis
Socialist Party review
Socialist Party editorial
Socialist Party NHS campaign
Socialist Party news