Socialist Worker

Homerton staff refuse to scab on Ealing Medirest strike

by Annette Mackin
Issue No. 2396

Medirest workers on the picket line

Medirest workers on the picket line (Pic: Guy Smallman)

Some 150 workers at Ealing Hospital completed a seven-day strike on Friday of last week.

The strikers are porters, domestic, catering, and help desk workers employed by Compass Medirest.

The GMB union members currently receive only £6.31 an hour—44 percent below the lowest comparable NHS rate in London of £9.09 per hour.

And despite many domestic staff working with medical waste that puts them at risk of infection, the workers are granted no annual sick pay.

Medirest tried to break the strike with scabs.

Bosses brought workers from Homerton Hospital in Hackney, east London, in taxis to Ealing Hospital, west London.

The workers did not realise that they were breaking a strike.

Once they were told, many refused to cover the work at Ealing. One Homerton worker told Socialist Worker, “Our Unison branch has Medirest workers in it too.

“We put together a leaflet explaining that the workers in Ealing weren’t paid the same wage and that’s why they were striking.

“The workers were shocked and many refused to go. How much would it have cost to send workers in a taxi from east to west London? Why don’t Medirest pay workers a proper wage instead?”

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