Socialist Worker

Unofficial walk-out wins at Swansea hospital

by Tim Evans
Issue No. 2064

Around 30 clerical staff at Morriston hospital in Swansea won a great victory after they walked out unofficially on Thursday of last week.

They were protesting at the chaos caused by an expensive new IT appointments system called iPM.

This was introduced to Morriston and Singleton hospitals in July.

Management had been warned back in October 2006 that the new system could cause problems.

Once installed, it immediately malfunctioned, giving out wrong information.

This caused chaos for the admin and clerical staff, and for patients looking to make appointments.

Staff were already under pressure from increased workload, and at about 1.05pm on Thursday they walked.

“We have had an absolute gut-full of the problems in the appointment system,” said one worker. Managers were called to the hospital to deal with the situation.

When management agreed to hold immediate talks, staff returned to work after two hours.

At the meeting, management agreed to everything staff were asking for – including new computer equipment and phone systems, two new members of staff, larger office space, new printers and filing cabinets.

Libby Nolan, the Unison union shop steward at Morriston Hospital, said, “People were angry – and they realised the effect they could have all together. If you don’t think that industrial action works, just look at this.”

This is precisely what 3,000 workers at nearby Singleton hospital will be doing.

Not only have they had to deal with the same IT system, but they are owed up to £3 million in back pay under the Agenda for Change programme’s “harmonisation” of pay and conditions.

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Tue 14 Aug 2007, 18:05 BST
Issue No. 2064
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