Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 10 June 2015

Striking porters 'a hundred times stronger' in bosses' 'nightmare scenario'

Philip Stott, Socialist Party Scotland

In the city's longest-running strike for over twenty years, Dundee hospital porters are into their tenth week of action.

Porters at Scotland's Ninewells and Royal Victoria hospitals are fighting for a raise they were due over ten years ago. The Scottish Terms and Conditions Committee (Stac) is the official body where NHS Scotland unions and bosses negotiate. It will publish a review into porters' demands later this week.

General union Unite has made a clear, unarguable case. Porters should have moved from pay band one to two under the NHS 'Agenda for Change' - implemented in 2004.

Indeed, three Agenda for Change panels ruled porters should be on the higher grade. Management initiated a fourth, which concluded the porters should be in band one.

Despite repeated requests for documented proof that the union signed the agreement, NHS bosses have failed to provide it.

Speaking to the Socialist, senior steward Graham Nelson said: "Few of us have any real faith in Stac publishing a report that delivers for porters.

"If it does then fine - but we want face-to-face talks with NHS Tayside to ensure we get a band-two grading for all porters, and full-time, permanent posts for temporary porters. And compensation for being underpaid for so long. Whatever Stac says, the strike will continue until our demands are met."

Striking porter Mark Gilligan told the Socialist: "The last ten weeks have been like one big learning curve and bonding session. We're a hundred times stronger as a group than when we started our strike action.

"One thing that is clear is when the time comes, we'll be going back more united and determined than ever before. I would guess that's a nightmare scenario for management. They'll get away with nothing from now on."

Porters are critical to running hospitals. Everything from patient movement to mail, medical rec-ords, clinical waste and supplying bedding.


Management has been taking on portering duties - but failing to cope. Bosses had hoped to rely on other NHS staff to cover for the strike. But as one hospital worker exposed last week in the local press: "There is general support for the porters. The nurses have been facing their own pay dispute which has taken years, and it feels like the porters are striking on behalf of all of us.

"It is absolute rubbish when management say everything is under control. We're at the end of our tether."

Over 100 porters, striking Glasgow homelessness caseworkers and supporters protested at the Scottish parliament when the porters' case was raised. The so-called "anti-austerity" Scottish National Party and their public representatives have completely failed to back the porters.

However, the protest, and lobbies at MSPs' surgeries in Dundee, have had an impact. First Minster Nicola Sturgeon broke her silence, and said in parliament: "The porters are a fantastic bunch of people" and "I am hopeful that [Stac] will lead to a successful resolution."

Solidarity from wider NHS staff, trade unionists and the public has been crucial to the strike from the start. "The cheques and donations keep pouring in", Graham explained. "Just this morning a guy stopped at the picket line on his motorbike and handed in 200 in cash - I've no idea who he was.

"We went through to Perth last week to the EIS teachers' union conference, and delegates donated 300 in the buckets. We've had 100 from Glasgow City Unison, whose own homelessness caseworkers are in their eleventh week of action. 1,000 was also given from the Tayside Unite health branch. The public support is inspiring."

The porters' unity and solidarity was marked last week at the funeral of one of their own. There was a huge turnout for Grahame "Findus" Nicholson, who died on 29 May.

Grahame was buried with the red flag of his trade union and a striking porter's t-shirt. It is to Grahame, his family and friends that this article is dedicated.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 10 June 2015:

Socialist Party news and analysis

7K rise for MPs... Peanuts for us!

Strikes and bold campaigning can beat academy plans

Coulson case collapses amid stench of hypocrisy

Fifa scandals - a rottenness based on corporate greed

Fight devastating spending cuts

Royal Mail sell-off: Public service, not private profit

Can Corbyn's left challenge succeed?

Them & Us

International socialist news and analysis

Greece: Crunch time for Syriza?

900 attend rally to re-elect Kshama Sawant!

Socialist Party feature

No to a capitalist EU, Yes to a socialist Europe!

Socialist Party workplace news

Fight austerity! Fight anti-union laws!

Council cancels facility time to pave way for cuts

Gains for left in Unison elections

'Clear fighting strategy' needed for council workers

RMT strikes for unfairly sacked train guard

Bakers' union debates political representation

Striking porters 'a hundred times stronger'

Workplace news in brief

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

'Promising futures' wasted by cuts

Join TUSC on the march against austerity

Newcastle demo sets a striking tone

Leeds TUSC calls for not-for-profit letting agency

Protesters tell Labour councils to fight Tory cuts

Warrington TUSC

Readers' comments and reviews

This Skype is the limit!

1945 - when Britain said no to Churchill

'Socialism is the only way to stop austerity and poverty'


Home   |   The Socialist 10 June 2015   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   PDF  |   ebook

Related links:


triangleScotland: Towards a second indyref?

triangleScottish elections: strong mood for anti-cuts strategy continues

triangleScotland: battle heats up against council cuts

triangleWest Dunbartonshire teachers' strike

triangleQuiz of the year


triangle'Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor': comedy and tragedy judiciously mixed

triangleCash-starved health service ripped off by big pharma - fund our NHS now!

triangleThe Socialist inbox

triangleNationalise big pharma: end this profit-driven NHS crisis


triangleManchester Deliveroo strike, 14.2.19, photo Tom Costello

triangleWorkplace and union news in brief

triangleTen years since Lindsey strike: when militant action stopped the 'race to the bottom'


triangle300 turn out for Corbyn in Nottingham marginal


triangleGlasgow: nationalise the threatened 'Caley' railway depot


triangleArrest Brigadier Fernando - defend the right to protest


trianglePCS Left Unity chooses Chris Baugh - unite behind the left AGS and NEC slate


triangleFight for a socialist-led PCS - fight to win the national pay campaign


triangleKing George A&E faces closure again


triangleThousands march against overnight closure of Shropshire A&E


triangleHistoric strike of nurses in Ireland

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns


Climate change

Youth strike for the climate: "There's no planet B"



'Spot' conference opposes authoritarianism in Turkey



Liverpool: 200 march to commemorate Robert Tressell



300 turn out for Corbyn in Nottingham marginal


Socialist Party

Why I joined: "why is their life so different from mine?"


Tamil Solidarity

Arrest Brigadier Fernando - defend the right to protest



Newham: women's refuge funds halved - Labour must use the 500m reserves



Southampton: Labour plans 15m cuts - vote Socialist in Coxford by-election



Workplace and union news in brief



Enfield: striking against academisation - fighting for a no-cuts budget



Leicester college workers refuse to accept cut in terms and conditions



Glasgow: nationalise the threatened 'Caley' railway depot



Fight for a socialist-led PCS - fight to win the national pay campaign



Heroic RMT guards beat back Northern rail in fight against dangerous driver-only operation



Victory to Birmingham bin workers

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777


Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0784 114 4890

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551



Alphabetical listing

February 2019

January 2019