Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1078/30457
Workers at Lewisham coronavirus hospital walk out after not being paid
Cleaning, portering and catering staff at Lewisham Hospital, south London - where coronavirus cases have been treated - have walked out after private contractor ISS failed to pay the wages of the hospital workers.
Their union the GMB says: "Infected patients are now being admitted into the hospital, but the cleaners have downed tools because they haven't been paid.
"Furious workers stormed off the job during a row with the outsourcing company. Now ISS risks leaving wards uncleaned and meals not being served if they can't settle the low-paid workers' wages."
The Socialist reported recently (see 'Homerton Hospital workers fight for sick pay') that staff at Homerton Hospital, east London, had compelled ISS to agree to pay workers their usual pay if they are forced to self-isolate to help stop the spread of coronavirus. This victory is part of an ongoing campaign to get permanent occupational sick pay.
This shows ISS can be pushed back and workers can win.
- ISS staff, members of the PCS union, who are employed to clean tax offices at Bootle and Liverpool are taking 14 days of strike action over poor pay and conditions, and the refusal of ministers at HMRC to take the cleaning contract back in-house.
- Workers in Birmingham are taking two days of action. PCS members employed by ISS at BEIS won their fight for better pay, terms and conditions, including the London Living Wage of £10.55 an hour after many months of strike action in 2019.
Donate to the Socialist Party
Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal
The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.
The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.
The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.
- The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
- Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
- When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to click here to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.
- Click here to read our full appeal statement
- Click here for our coronavirus articles and reports
- Click here to join the Socialist Party
In The Socialist 18 March 2020:
Workplace news and analysis
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party reports and campaigns