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From The Socialist newspaper, 21 April 2010

Laundry workers fight closure

Laundry workers were joined by nurses, porters and other hospital staff in a protest outside Gateshead's Queen Elizabeth Hospital, against the planned closure of the hospital's laundry.

Margaret Johnson, one of the laundry workers whose job is threatened, said: "They told us it would be cheaper to divert laundry to Leicester, a 300 mile trip, than to do the laundry at the QE hospital."

Another laundry worker, Wendy Cowie, said: "This is going to have a big impact on the wards. Now they phone up and ask for sheets, gowns etc and they have them in minutes. All the travel between this hospital and Leicester isn't going to be very environmentally friendly. What happens if we have another bad winter?"

Laundry workers had been sent letters telling them their jobs would be safe until 2015. Now they are being told their contract will end on 31 May. Also, they are being told they must apply for jobs in Newcastle hospitals - if they don't they will lose their redundancy money.

One of the workers said that the jobs they are offering in Newcastle are for only a few hours a week. If you take the job you hardly have any pay and lose your redundancy, if you don't apply for it you also lose your redundancy.

Elaine Brunskill

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In The Socialist 21 April 2010:

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