Barts Unite strikers. Photo: Paula Mitchell
Barts Unite strikers. Photo: Paula Mitchell

Unite members at Barts Health Trust in East London have voted in a reballot to continue strike action for the Covid lump sum they have been denied. In 2022, these workers fought successfully to be brought back into the NHS from private sector employers, and they demand to be treated the same as other NHS employees.

Arshad Ahmad, Unite health and safety rep at Whipps Cross Hospital, part of the Trust, spoke to the Socialist.

I extend my heartfelt congratulations to all Unite members at Barts Trust for the resounding success in voting for industrial strike action and achieving a remarkable 98.11% ‘yes’ vote. Our dedication and unity in standing up for pay equality, justice, safer staffing levels, and fair treatment is truly commendable.

It is evident that our commitment to putting patients first is unwavering. Our hard work and sacrifices during the pandemic showcase our dedication to providing the best care for patients. It is unacceptable that we feel victimised, discriminated against, and have not received the recognition and support we deserve – especially those in the departments of portering, domestic, security and catering who did not receive the lump sum during the pandemic.

The disparities and inequalities we have faced are unjust and must be addressed. Our demands for safer staffing levels, fair treatment, and equality in the workplace are not only justified but essential for creating a supportive and equitable work environment.

I would also like to extend my congratulations to the Unite members in the West Midlands Dudley hospitals for their successful campaign. Their dedication and determination are setting a powerful example for all of us.

As we continue our strike for justice and fair treatment, our voices are strong. Together, we will make a difference, and our demands will not go unheard.

Stay united, stay strong, and continue to fight for what we deserve!