Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/26117

Posted on 11 September 2017 at 17:57 GMT

Barts NHS Trust workers striking for decent pay, photo Paul Mattsson

Barts NHS Trust workers striking for decent pay, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Barts strike: "up the ante" if necessary

Paula Mitchell, London Socialist Party

Twenty-four days of strike action, with bold pickets, rallies and demos, have brought greedy profiteering company Serco to the table.

The low pay and back-breaking over-work of cleaners, porters and catering staff in the NHS has been given a national platform as a result of the magnificent strike in four East London hospitals in Barts Health Trust.

Long-standing trade union activists have fought alongside migrant workers, women and men. Hundreds of workers across the Trust have joined a union for the first time.

Workers have found a new confidence in standing up to their bosses.

They have asked: how can a multibillion-pound company with millionaire executives not pay an extra 30p an hour to its essential workers - and how can an NHS trust turn a blind eye to this outrage?

When we look at the NHS we see patients, hard-working staff and a vital public service that we all value. Serco see pound signs and bulging pockets.

They have spent weeks trying to confuse and demoralise workers and to break the strike with agency workers.

The union members themselves will democratically decide what is an acceptable offer. But make no mistake - it is action that has got the campaign this far, and it is action that will be required again if workers do not like what is on the table.

The strike committee had a brilliant week of action planned for this week, of strikes, mass meetings, protests at the Trust and at Serco's HQ. That is what has made Serco talk. This plan has been suspended for the talks, but if necessary should be re-launched.

Step up pressure

Mass meetings of members should discuss the next steps to, in the words of Unite members, "up the ante" on Serco and on the Trust.

We demand that Labour councillors and MPs make this dispute a top priority!

If not resolved, the MPs should be getting on to Serco and the Trust to end this dispute straightaway. The councillors have the power to call in the Trust and tell it to intervene and sort this out.

That's why it's important that, after pressure from campaigners, the health scrutiny committee of Waltham Forest council has asked strikers to speak at its meeting on Thursday this week. We need the same from Tower Hamlets councillors and MPs too!

Barts strikers, photo by Helen Pattison

Barts strikers, photo by Helen Pattison   (Click to enlarge)

It's good that Len McCluskey, Unite general secretary, came to speak at the joint demo in August with BA cabin crew and Bank of England strikers. Barts strikers spoke at the National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) rally at the start of TUC congress on Sunday, alongside Len McCluskey.

Unite is a big union. If members are not satisfied with what Serco offers, Unite must use its resources to do all it can to mobilise support and solidarity for the Barts strike and increase the pressure on Serco.

Serco be warned - if necessary we will campaign far and wide so that no one will touch your company. In fact - all private companies should be kicked out of the NHS!


Mixed signals from Labour

Strikers were delighted that John McDonnell came to the July demo and passed on support from Jeremy Corbyn. If the fight has to go on, how about calling on them to visit again, and address another big meeting or protest?

Strikers are also grateful for the curry-night benefit laid on by Corbyn-supporting Labour members in Leyton and Wanstead. But they need to have a word with Walthamstow Blairite Labour MP Stella Creasy.

On the same night as the benefit, where strike leader and Barts Unite branch secretary Len Hockey was guest speaker, Creasy's Labour Party branch, while pledging support for the strike, turned Len down as a speaker. It "wouldn't be appropriate" on the basis that Len, a Socialist Party member and Corbyn-supporter, had stood in an election as part of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) against right-wing Labour!

Another example of Labour being two parties in one. Kick out the Blairites and bring in the strikers!


This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 11 September 2017 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.

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






Related links:

East London:

triangleEast London Socialist Party: How can free education be won?

triangleEast London & Tower Hamlets Socialist Party: 2017 - From Trump to Paradise Papers; a year in review

triangleAngry east London residents organise against threat to leisure centre

triangleNo cuts - hands off King George A&E!

triangleThe fight against racial discrimination is tied to fighting against capitalist austerity

Barts:

triangleSerco - not fit for purpose

triangleNorth London hospital workers fight cuts and job losses

triangleTories scrap the NHS pay cap: now fight for real-terms pay rises!

triangleUnison attacks Barts deal after failing to ballot their members for strike action

Strike:

triangleAfter the budget - unions must launch pay fight

triangleSheffield Eastern Ave Job Centre strike ends

triangleVirgin train workers vote for strike action over pay

Labour:

triangleLeft comic's take on politics will have you in tears

triangleSouthampton: Corbynista success but cuts continue

Workers:

triangleLeeds college workers protest poor pay rises

Unite:

triangleScotland: BiFab workers' occupation and march secures jobs and pay guarantee

NHS:

triangleNHS cuts kill!

Len McCluskey:

triangleUnite union sector conferences: coordinate action over pay

Waltham Forest:

triangleWaltham Forest Socialist Party: How could a Corbyn government avoid sabotage?

Cleaners:

triangleJustice for Tube cleaners demo

Len Hockey:

triangleDeal concludes Barts health strike - "We have raised our heads high"

Labour Party:

triangleWhat does the left victory in Scottish Labour mean?

Tower Hamlets:

triangleTower Hamlets Socialist Party: Organising for socialist change

Hospitals:

triangleChatsworth neuro-rehab ward still open - unions join the campaign

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

22/11/17

Disability

Disability cuts outrage: my story

22/11/17

Southampton

Southampton: Corbynista success but cuts continue

22/11/17

Socialist Students

Socialism 2017 Socialist Students meet-up

22/11/17

Student

Lively student demonstration for free education could have been much bigger

22/11/17

Leeds

Leeds college workers protest poor pay rises

22/11/17

Scotland

Scotland: BiFab workers' occupation and march secures jobs and pay guarantee

22/11/17

Usdaw

General secretary coronation

22/11/17

Nottingham

Nottingham 'Reclaim the Night' march highlights cuts

16/11/17

Sheffield

Sheffield Eastern Ave Job Centre strike ends

16/11/17

Virgin

Virgin train workers vote for strike action over pay

15/11/17

Students

March for free education! We demand a future!

15/11/17

Plymouth

Plymouth PCS members fight relocation threat

15/11/17

Virgin

Virgin train workers ballot for strike action

15/11/17

Carlisle

Carlisle socialists campaign against Universal Credit

15/11/17

Haringey

Corbyn must challenge pro-gentrification council leader or others will

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle23 Nov After the budget - unions must launch pay fight

triangle22 Nov What does the left victory in Scottish Labour mean?

triangle22 Nov General secretary coronation

triangle22 Nov After the budget: step up the fight against austerity!

triangle21 Nov Zimbabwe: Mugabe gone - but his regime remains in power

triangle15 Nov March for free education! We demand a future!

triangle15 Nov Tories on the brink - kick them out!

More ...

triangle23 Nov East London Socialist Party: How can free education be won?

triangle23 Nov Waltham Forest Socialist Party: Trump and the resistance

triangle23 Nov London: Support event for education workers in Turkey

triangle23 Nov Cardiff East Socialist Party: Catalonia, Scotland and Wales

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2