Socialist Worker

Report of Medirest NHS workers' strike in Amersham

by Raymie Kiernan
Issue No. 2232

On the Medirest picket line at Amersham hospital on Wednesday of this week
 (Pic: Socialist Worker)

On the Medirest picket line at Amersham hospital on Wednesday of this week (Pic: Socialist Worker)

Low paid NHS workers struck for 48 hours from Wednesday against bosses’ refusal to honour their agreed terms of contract. Over 100 domestics, porters, and catering staff employed by Medirest at Amersham and Wycombe hospitals in Buckinghamshire walked out.

The workers, who are members of the Unison union, are angry at their employers’ refusal to honour the Agenda for Change terms that apply to most NHS staff.

Medirest workers in Buckinghamshire earn less than their counterparts in other areas, and suffer worse conditions.

One worker told Socialist Worker, “We get a little above the minimum wage. We deserve to be treated better than this. The company refuses to pay us sick pay, so we decided to stand up to them and fight.

“We want to get the best for our members here. The bosses say they have no money but that’s simply not true. We are suffering while they are making millions in profit.

“It goes for us and it goes for everyone else, we need to strike together and support one another to defend our jobs and services.”

Medirest staff get statutory sick pay of only £79.15 a week—compared with the full pay for at least one month that workers employed by the NHS receive.

Janet Caulfield, a team organiser for Unison said, “Workers are angry that the company pays other workers doing the same job more than them.

“They’re making massive profits off the back of the exploitation of these workers who earn just £6.35 per hour, whether they work day, evening or night shifts.

'The company says there no money to implement Agenda for Change but Medirest can afford it—they made £900 million this year. The chief executive alone will make £3.4million including bonuses.”

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