The Socialist

The Socialist 5 July 2017

Public sector wages - pay up!

The Socialist issue 955

Public sector wages - Pay up!

Jobstown victory: protest is not a crime!

Blairite EU rebellion: no to the bosses' Single Market

Fight establishment's Grenfell insults: no to cover-up, safety for all!

Hillsborough: six charged due to determination of justice campaign

Tories' tuition fees wobble: fight for free education!


200-year miscarriage of justice exposing ruling class

Transport strategy: London's mayor is no visionary

The Socialist inbox


1 July demo: anger and enthusiasm shows potential mass movement


'Jubilant' hospital workers strike against poverty pay in east London

Support the Merseyrail strikes against DOO

RMT conference opens debate on Labour and pledges to fight anti-union laws

Bin workers' anger boils over into strike action

Unison conference: Socialist Party argues for a socialist Brexit

Surrey FBU pass no confidence motion

BA cabin crew blacklisting strike starts

Leeds: Nurses' union RCN says 'scrap the cap'


Pride 2017: we need a fighting, socialist movement for LGBT+ rights

Lessons from the Russian revolution for LGBT+ struggle today


Weakened Tories forced into Northern Ireland abortion u-turn


Haringey: stop demolition of homes and communities

South London tower block residents plan safety campaign

Newcastle tenants demand answers


East London community demands action after racist attacks

Another record fighting fund quarter!

From Militant to the Socialist Party - what you thought

Pensioners oppose DUP deal

 
 
 
 
 

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'Jubilant' hospital workers strike against poverty pay in east London

Barts Health Trust strike 4 July 2017 Barts picket line photo Paula Mitchell

Barts Health Trust strike 4 July 2017 Barts picket line photo Paula Mitchell   (Click to enlarge)

Socialist Party reporters

On 4-5 July domestics, porters and security staff at Barts Health Trust in east London, members of Unite the Union, began a campaign of strike action to defend jobs and to break out of poverty pay. If not resolved satisfactorily then another 14 days of action are planned.

This strike is very important coming as it does, with the Tories on the rocks and under pressure over public sector pay. This strike could help to break the pay cap and give confidence to health workers everywhere to fight for better pay and to defend the service against cuts and privatisation.

Since December 2016 services such as catering, cleaning, security and portering have been run by private contractor Serco.

The workers explain: "This is a deal that will cost taxpayers £600 million and lead to Serco making large profits from our hard work. Since Serco have taken over they have planned job cuts at Whipps Cross Hospital, attempted to abolish tea breaks for hard-pressed workers at the Royal London Hospital, increased the workload to unsustainable levels and continued zero-hours contracts despite a commitment not to. Serco profits from our NHS. Their CEO alone earns almost £2 million a year. A cleaner would have to work for almost 100 years to receive this sum." The strikers are fighting for a 30p pay rise.

Barts Health Trust strike 4 July 2017 Royal London picket line photo Paula Mitchell

Barts Health Trust strike 4 July 2017 Royal London picket line photo Paula Mitchell   (Click to enlarge)

On the first day of the strike, at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, already at 6am a crowd was gathering, women and men, mostly black and Asian workers, blowing horns and brimming with confidence. One striker said: "I only joined the union a month ago. This is a really big step for me. I've worked here 14 years and for the first time I don't feel like I'm in my place. I'm exhausted. The work has got so hard. When I get home I don't want to cook, I just want to put my head down. Now we have a union that will fight."

1,100 workers have joined Unite in the last few months as part of a hard-fought campaign to unionise and then fight for better pay and conditions. The record of the porters and domestics at Whipps Cross Hospital, explained in many meetings, has encouraged workers to see that a fighting trade union is possible.

Another striker who wants to remain anonymous says: "Serco is much worse than previous employer Carillion. Serco don't even supply cleaning materials and only two uniforms. They don't want to pay our pension either. Carillion was better but best of all it should be taken back in house."

Barts Health Trust strike 4 July 2017 Mile End picket line photo Paula Mitchell

Barts Health Trust strike 4 July 2017 Mile End picket line photo Paula Mitchell   (Click to enlarge)

Workers are saying pressure needs to be applied to the health trust and the question needs to be asked - 'are they saving money on this contract?'

After the picket lines strikers marched from Mile End and Barts hospitals to the Royal London for a jubilant rally. We marched, danced and chanted around the hospital and then a Unite organiser compered a brilliant rally. He started off saying "this is best picket line I've ever been on". In introducing Unite branch secretary and Socialist Party member Len Hockey, the compere said: "you've heard about BC and AD - well in Barts Trust, as far as Unite is concerned, there's BL and AL."[Before Len/After Len]

Len declared: "I am honoured to be a striking porter in this Unite branch. This union blew the whistle on exploitative conditions. We said it will end. We will organise.

Barts Health Trust strike 4 July 2017 Whipps Cross picket line photo Mary Finch

Barts Health Trust strike 4 July 2017 Whipps Cross picket line photo Mary Finch   (Click to enlarge)

Hundreds have joined, zero-hour contract workers finally have a voice. We want a famous victory for east London workers."

Royal London rep Melissa said: "Together we fight. For a pay rise. Against stressful workloads. Fighting together we will win. We are forced to do two to three jobs, which is not good for our health." Pete Cavanagh and Gail Cartmail, Unite regional secretary and national deputy general secretary both also spoke, as did Paul Kershaw, chair of Unite housing branch.

After the speeches we marched round to the Serco offices and danced in the street outside!

At the Whipps Cross Hospital rally there has never been so much singing and dancing at a hospital either! Speakers included Linda Taaffe, secretary of Waltham Forest trades council, a nurse from the hospital, and Socialist Party member Nancy Taaffe.

Barts Health Trust strike 4 July 2017 Len Hockey addresses the strike rally photo Paula Mitchell

Barts Health Trust strike 4 July 2017 Len Hockey addresses the strike rally photo Paula Mitchell   (Click to enlarge)

And Len Hockey addressed the strikers here too: "We say to Serco what we think we're worth and we will fight for that". He reported solidarity messages from as far afield as Malaysia and Australia!

To support the strikers contact [email protected]

If there is no resolution, the strike will start again on Tuesday 11 July for seven days.

There will be a demonstration from the Royal London in Whitechapel to Barts on Saturday 15 July.


This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 4 July 2017 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.


In this issue


Socialist Party news and analysis

Public sector wages - Pay up!

Jobstown victory: protest is not a crime!

Blairite EU rebellion: no to the bosses' Single Market

Fight establishment's Grenfell insults: no to cover-up, safety for all!

Hillsborough: six charged due to determination of justice campaign

Tories' tuition fees wobble: fight for free education!


Readers' comments and reviews

200-year miscarriage of justice exposing ruling class

Transport strategy: London's mayor is no visionary

The Socialist inbox


What we think

1 July demo: anger and enthusiasm shows potential mass movement


Socialist Party workplace news

'Jubilant' hospital workers strike against poverty pay in east London

Support the Merseyrail strikes against DOO

RMT conference opens debate on Labour and pledges to fight anti-union laws

Bin workers' anger boils over into strike action

Unison conference: Socialist Party argues for a socialist Brexit

Surrey FBU pass no confidence motion

BA cabin crew blacklisting strike starts

Leeds: Nurses' union RCN says 'scrap the cap'


Pride 2017

Pride 2017: we need a fighting, socialist movement for LGBT+ rights

Lessons from the Russian revolution for LGBT+ struggle today


NI abortion u-turn

Weakened Tories forced into Northern Ireland abortion u-turn


Housing

Haringey: stop demolition of homes and communities

South London tower block residents plan safety campaign

Newcastle tenants demand answers


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

East London community demands action after racist attacks

Another record fighting fund quarter!

From Militant to the Socialist Party - what you thought

Pensioners oppose DUP deal


 

Home   |   The Socialist 5 July 2017   |   Join the Socialist Party

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Related links:

Barts:

triangleNorth London Socialist Party: Save our NHS - the lessons of the Barts strike

triangleNHS we're ready to fight

triangleSustained mass movement needed to stop Tories wrecking our NHS

triangleSerco - not fit for purpose

triangleNorth London hospital workers fight cuts and job losses

Strike:

triangleOaks Park school: Redbridge Labour council backs strike-breaking bullies

triangleGoodlord dispute: Labour's leadership weasled out of backing strike action

triangleSolidarity to the striking workers at Charité and Vivantes hospitals in Berlin

triangleDHL workers to strike against wage theft

Workers:

triangleWeetabix - workers have had enough

triangleClick here for a report. Speakers included: Sharon Graham - newly-elected Unite gen sec; Sarah Woolley - BFAWU gen sec; Carmel Gates - Nipsa gen sec (designate); Joe Simpson - POA deputy gen sec; Joe Kirby - RMT NEC & offshore worker

triangleUnite young and old to defend the pensions triple lock

Poverty:

triangleTories and Labour fail on child poverty

triangleWhy I joined the Socialist Party

Pay:

triangleWe won't pay for capitalism's failings

Hospital:

triangleWhipps Cross hospital workers reject the 3%

London:

triangleSave jobs and services - nationalise rail

East London:

triangleEast London Socialist Party: Capitalism = climate catastrophe

Unite:

triangleObituary: Roger Henshaw, comrade and class fighter

Union:

triangleCarmarthenshire Unison: 'Recognise our union!'

Health:

triangleDeaths of despair: Health crisis - capitalism in the dock

Whipps Cross:

triangleObituary - Jeff Edwards

Cuts:

triangleReturning to campus: Students need to fight

Carillion:

triangleCapitalism fails NHS services in Liverpool: scrap PFI!

NHS:

triangleOn the frontline, and still fighting for the NHS

Trade union:

triangleA pivotal moment for the trade union movement

Privatisation:

triangleLondon floods: Privatisation and heavy rain are a dangerous mix

Hospitals:

triangleUK hospitals in danger of collapse

Len Hockey:

triangleRoyal London Hospital strike win

Public sector:

triangleWest London Socialist Party: How the unions can win a decent pay rise for health and other public sector workers