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From The Socialist newspaper, 7 July 2021

Royal London Hospital strike win

Serco backs down and offers major concessions

Workers on the picket line at Royal London Hospital. Photo: London Socialist Party

Workers on the picket line at Royal London Hospital. Photo: London Socialist Party   (Click to enlarge)

Strike action at the Royal London hospital in Whitechapel, involving back-of-house catering staff, has been suspended after outsourcing company Serco capitulated to most of the workers' demands.

The workers took five days of strike last month to stop the new, unworkable roster system and also challenge bullying. Workers had been trying to resolve the issues for a year before walking out.

Following talks at the conciliation service Acas, Serco has now agreed to adopt a workable roster system, and the manager accused of bullying will be moved from the department and provided with training.

As a consequence, Unite has suspended the latest five-day strike, which was due to start on 5 July. A further five days of strike action are scheduled for Monday 12 July, but Unite will call off this action once the deal is finalised.

Unite regional officer Ruth Hydon said: "This is a tremendous victory for our members who have stood together and faced down Serco."

Socialist Party members, including the workers' union branch secretary Len Hockey, visited the picket lines every day.

Throughout the pandemic, these essential workers worked continuously helping the sickest and most vulnerable. Many of them contracted Covid, which put in danger not only themselves, but also their families and loved ones. Some of them paid for their dedication with their lives.

It was not the first time that outsourced Barts Serco workers have had to go on strike. In September 2017, after 24 days of strike action across four London hospitals, the ancillary workers managed to bring Serco to the negotiating table. Like now, the pickets were alive with chanting, singing, dancing, and speeches, and took part in joint action with other strikes in London.

The same determination to fight has seen the catering workers win this dispute too.

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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.

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In The Socialist 7 July 2021:


What we think

Batley & Spen byelection: Another condemnation of Starmer's New Labour


The Struggle for World Socialism

The struggle for world socialism


NHS

Fight is on to save our NHS

NHS workers' protests


News

Fund the measures needed to stop the Covid spread in schools

Manchester death rate caused by deprivation

Bristol: Police to blame for protest violence


Workplace news

Royal London Hospital strike win

Morrisons private equity takeover proposals - Usdaw needs to move to a war footing

Safety campaign in DWP: What has happened to our ballot?

Striking Brush workers continue to protest 'fire and rehire'

Striking Ealing parking attendants rally outside council

Derby academies closed by strikes against brutal cuts and changes

Oaks Park strikers rally


Socialist history

Terry Fields MP, Prisoner DV 3695 - The jailing of 'poll tax' rebel and Militant


International news

COP26: Socialist change to end the climate crisis

Israel: Hospital ancillary workers strike over pay parity and workload


Campaigns news

Rising against a rigged and rotten system

Why did I choose the Socialist Party?

Housing: Join the service charge 'strike'

Stop environmental destruction in Barnsley

"It's great to be back": Come to a Socialist Party in-person meeting

We need funds to fight Tory NHS attacks

Road closures: Hackney residents have not been consulted


Reviews

The story of Joe Clough - Britain's first black bus driver

Exhibition: What next for the statue of slave trader, Edward Colston?

TV - Statue wars: one summer in Bristol


 

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