Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 12 October 2006

Health workers beat the privateers

WORKERS AT Whipps Cross hospital in east London on strike
WORKERS AT Whipps Cross hospital in east London have won an important battle. They have scored a victory against the privatisers and the service-cutters and shown that organisation and struggle can win.
Their victory is an inspiration to anyone who wants to defend and rebuild the NHS.
The low-paid ancillary workers have shown that persistence and determination can win victories.
They have forced the end of the "two-tier" workforce at the hospital, where workers, employed by Initial in a privatised service were being paid less than NHS and ex-NHS workers. And they have fought for their rights in the NHS 'Agenda for Change' job evaluation and regrading scheme.
Len Hockey, Socialist Party member and joint branch secretary of Whipps Cross UNISON spoke to the socialist about the victory.

Len Hockey, Socialist Party member and joint branch secretary of Whipps Cross UNISON"WE HAD a mass meeting on 6 October of the Initial members at Whipps Cross - porters, domestics and switchboard staff. We put an agreement to them and they voted to accept it.

Len Hockey

This means that they'll now have pay increases from 5.52 per hour up to 7.47, including London Weighting. They'll now have sick pay from 1 October, where previously they had little or no rights to sick pay.

They'll all have increased annual leave. Some are on as little as 20 days, that will now rise to a new minimum of 27. And those who work in excess of 37 hours a week will have a 37.5-hour week without of loss of pay.

In addition to that we've secured a 750 lump sum payment to reflect part of the Agenda for Change 'higher cost area supplement' for the period April to October.

WORKERS AT Whipps Cross hospital in east London on strikeThis is all linked to the deal which we won in 2003, which the employers reneged on and which should have been delivered on 1 April this year. We were forced to take eight days strike action this summer, so winning this and ending the two-tier workforce has been a considerable achievement.

The same group of workers have been involved in three rounds of industrial action within ten years, here at Whipps Cross. We had a strike in 1997 to put down a marker when we were being privatised. 2003 saw the strike to end the two-tier workforce and secured the original agreement and we've had to strike in 2006 to get it implemented.

So it shows when you organise you can win - even when the odds are stacked against you - with workers whose position in British society isn't very good to start with and whose confidence in English language and literacy is low.

This battle has also been in the context of a cost-cutting exercise implemented by government and the hospital trust. So I do think it's a significant dispute and a significant victory.

The workers are pleased of course, it couldn't come quick enough. They're anxious to see the money in their pay packets. People have lost a lot of earnings by striking but we've got a hardship fund of 26,000 which will be distributed soon.

I'd say to any group of workers facing a similar situation: "Get organised give it your best shot."

Of course now we have to fight against the running down of the services at Whipps Cross altogether, which seems increasingly likely. So now we've got another battle on our hands."

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

In The Socialist 12 October 2006:

Socialist Party NHS campaign

Health workers beat the privateers

Get organised! Join the march on parliament!

NHS - not safe in their hands

Protests at health cuts

Angry marchers keep up the fight

Socialist Students

Fees can damage your education

Student fees can be defeated

Campaigning in the schools and colleges

Chile: solidarity appeal

International socialist news and analysis

All views welcome at Socialism 2006

Huge meeting greets socialist movement

Cable Street 1936: When workers drove back the fascists

A 'race to the bottom' for workers' rights and a disaster for the environment

Dave Nellist's global warning

Kazakhstan - appeal for support

Brazilian elections: Lula fails to win in first round

"Bertiegate" scandal rocks Ahern coalition

Socialist Party workplace news

Blood service faces cuts

Trade unions must organise casual workers


Home   |   The Socialist 12 October 2006   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:


triangleCuts harm kids' health

triangleThe Blairites are NHS privatisers - to save it means sacking them

triangleLeaked pay deal: fight for a genuine pay rise

triangleNHS: public health - not private profit

triangleHands Off HRI campaign group meets Corbyn and Ashworth


triangleRevolutionary physicist and champion of social causes

triangleUnions condemn 'culture of bullying' at Merseyside hospital

triangleHands Off HRI campaign granted judicial review

triangleOver 1,000 on Newcastle NHS march

Whipps Cross:

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

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

triangleThree London strikes coordinate demos


triangleZero new homes 'affordable' in Blairite Manchester

triangleSainsbury's raise really a cut: fight for 10 with no strings!


triangleUCU strike: staff and students unite to continue pensions fight after magnificent 14 days of action

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns



Hands Off HRI campaign granted judicial review



Refugee Rights to be launched in Manchester



Over 1,000 on Newcastle NHS march


Socialist Party

Why I joined: 'The Socialist Party is at the forefront of defending Corbyn's anti-austerity leadership'


Socialist Party

Past fund-raising campaigns show dedication to the fight for socialism


May Day

Ideas matter: help us fight to win with May Day greetings



Refugees march against racism and to demand rights



Unions condemn 'culture of bullying' at Merseyside hospital



Hull college workers ballot for action against mass redundancies



Strikers and parents rally again in Newham against academies



Hinkley workers win back unpaid wages after sit-in protest



UCU strike: staff and students unite to continue pensions fight after magnificent 14 days of action



Walkout from undercover policing inquiry



Hated Blairite mayor ousted: now fight for a no-cuts Newham!



NSSN conference moves

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: 0191 421 6230

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

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018