Socialist Worker

In brief

Issue No. 1925

Bosses won’t shed two tiers

PORTERS AND cleaners at Heartlands Hospital in Birmingham are heading for a confrontation with their bosses over “two-tier” working.

Two-tier working—where two groups of workers do identical jobs for different pay—happens in the public sector when one group of workers are directly employed while another have their jobs contracted out.

Union leaders claim to have extracted a pledge from New Labour to end the practice, as part of the Warwick agreement signed earlier this year.

But two-tier working continues, as 300 workers employed by Initial Hospital Services at Heartlands Hospital discovered. They have voted for strike action to win equality with directly employed workers at Solihull Hospital—part of the same NHS trust.

Unison regional organiser Ray Salmon told Socialist Worker that he wanted to see a complete end to two-tier working at the hospital:

“Unless the employers come back with a decent offer we plan to take action next week. We’ve already had a ballot for a strike or action short of a strike, and 96 percent voted in favour with an 80 percent turnout.”
Joseph Choonara

Destroying the mail to save it

ROYAL MAIL has just announced the closure of the West London Mail Centre in Paddington. If you are unlucky enough to live in the W1 to W14 postcode areas you are going to notice a slump in the quality of your postal service.

Most of this mail will be processed in Middlesex, and all of it will be delivered from outside the area.

Paddington has the best quality of service results for processing in London. It is being closed because of the huge price of property in this area.

The local branch of the Communication Workers Union has launched a campaign against the closure. This is a fight that postal workers and the community need to embrace if we are to save our postal service from devastation borne of corporate ineptitude and greed.

Even an audience of councillors from some of the richest wards in Britain were sceptical as Royal Mail’s representatives told last week’s scrutiny committee of Westminster council that they were improving services.

Royal Mail told the committee that service has improved after the imposition of single daily delivery. They argued it is necessary to close loss-making post offices and sell off delivery and mail processing centres.
Ken Streeter, CWU west London postal branch

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Article information

Sat 30 Oct 2004, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1925
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