Ealing hospital workers fight miserly Medirest

Chris Newby

Striking GMB pickets were again out in force on 17 March. The workers at Ealing Hospital in west London were on a seven-day strike against poverty pay.

The 150 porters and ancillary workers are fighting to get off the minimum hourly wage rate of £6.31 that outsourced NHS employer Medirest is currently paying them.

This is 44% below the lowest comparable rate in the health service in London of £9.09. Medirest is only prepared to offer an insulting pay increase of 20p an hour.

The pickets were furious about reports that scab labour has been bussed in by agencies and is being paid £9 per hour! It seems that money can be found to break a strike but not to properly pay NHS workers.

Not only are Medirest paying these workers a pittance they are also not paying sick pay and will only allow the workers to take a maximum of two weeks holiday from their 20-day annual leave at any one time.

This directly affects those workers who have families in other countries. This is the third strike in this current dispute showing the determination of these workers.

The confirmation last week that the government is continuing its public sector pay freeze, with a 0% rise for NHS workers poses the need for coordinated strike action.

It would bring in workers such as those at Ealing and many like them who have been privatised and outsourced to sharks like Medirest. This heroic action also shows how such mass joint action would be strongly supported.

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