Teesside and North Yorks hospital strikes

John Malcolm, Teesside Socialist Party

Health Care Assistants (HCAs) across Teesside and North Yorkshire took strike action on Monday 11 March for fair pay.

Unison North Tees and South Tees hospital branches have run a successful campaign to resolve Band 2 HCAs carrying out Band 3 duties, which include clinical tasks such as taking blood, recording observations, and catheterisation. This has been a long-running campaign as part of Unison’s ‘Fair Pay’ campaign.

There has been a big rise in recruitment to the union as a result of the campaign, and a large majority voted in favour of taking strike action. The employers, North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust and South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, have agreed to the uplift in banding.

But Unison members are taking action for four years’ of back pay to be paid, in line with trusts in other parts of the country.

The picket lines were well-supported and lively, with over 100 members at James Cook Hospital in Middlesbrough. This shows what can be done when members are mobilised and the union puts resources into campaigns.