Socialist Worker

Swansea health workers force bosses back at Morriston hospital

Issue No. 2070

Health workers in Swansea have succeeded in winning a month’s suspension of planned ward closures and job losses after threatening to go on strike.

The hasty retreat by bosses at the Morriston hospital came after they agreed to meet with Unison union representatives to discuss the nurses’ grievances.

These include a swathe of job losses that have forced many to apply for jobs outside of their specialist area.

“We told them that if they didn’t retreat, we would walk out,” Unison rep Libby Nolan told Socialist Worker.

“They said that they had no idea how angry we were, and agreed to put their plans on hold while they rethink.”

However workers at the hospital think that bosses are playing for time. Libby said, “Lots of nurses working at this hospital are on temporary contracts. There is lots of insecurity and lots of anger.

“Our bosses might think that this is just going to blow over, but they have no idea.

“The anger that started with nurses is now beginning to spread to other health workers, like porters, who have asked how they can be part of the campaign.”

The hospital, which has seen a number of unofficial walkouts this summer, is such a well of discontent that staff have started using the intranet system to call for senior managers to resign from their positions.

Unison is set to launch a campaign to get permanent contracts for all nursing staff, and end the ward closures.

Libby said, “Our trust says that it has insufficient resources to employ everyone permanently, but that is not true – it recorded a budget surplus last year.

“Everyone here is suspicious that our health authority has a plan to shut one of the city’s main hospitals, and that our bosses are playing their part by running down services at the Morriston.”

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Tue 25 Sep 2007, 18:41 BST
Issue No. 2070
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