Socialist Worker

NHS workers strike back

by Julie Sherry and Sarah Ensor
Issue No. 2330

Yorkshire health workers on the picket line (Pic: Julie Sherry)

Yorkshire health workers on the picket line (Pic: Julie Sherry)

Medical secretaries, admin and clerical workers at three West Yorkshire hospitals began a three-day strike on Tuesday of this week.

It is the Unison members’ second walkout in their fight against redundancies and pay cuts. They work at hospitals in Dewsbury, Pontefract and Wakefield, where they were joined by clerical workers in the Unite union.

On the first day of the strike there were around 30 pickets at Dewsbury, 40 at Pontefract and 45 at Pinderfields in Wakefield.

One striker at Dewsbury told Socialist Worker, “They are cutting the wages of the lowest paid. It’s not on that we’re expected to do more work for less.”

Their employer, Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, is making cuts of £24 million. Yet it is paying consultants and accountants £3.4 million to help make cuts.

Driving down NHS workers’ wages and conditions is part of the Tories’ plan to prepare the service for privatisation. But workers aren’t taking it lying down.

Hacked off

The striker said workers are “hacked off” with “being dictated to”. “When we go back on Friday there’s no way they’ll be getting extra out of us for nothing to clear the backlog from the strike,” she said.

“We’ll be working to rule on that backlog.” She added that this strike was even stronger than the last time.

“After this week’s action we’ll see what management has to say,” she said. “Three days with more people out will cause a lot more mayhem.” At the workers’ strike rally a hands-up vote unanimously called for more strikes.

A pathology worker came to the picket line at Pinderfields to support the strikers. “We should be balloted too,” they told Socialist Worker.

Ambulance workers also came down to support the picket line and a delegation of strikers was set to tour Barnsley workplaces.

The strike fund has been swelled by big donations from Unison branches at Fieldhead Hospital, Wakefield and from as far away as Oxford.

Send donations to the strike fund to Trade Union Office, Pinderfields Hospital, Aberford Rd, Wakefield WF1 4DG

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