HEALTH WORKERS in North Lincolnshire were set to strike again on Friday of this week as part of their battle against poverty pay. The workers in the North Lincolnshire and Goole NHS trust-which includes three hospitals in Scunthorpe, Grimsby and Goole-plan to strike again on Monday, and then on every other day during the week. This is part of a series of strikes the workers have held against their bosses, private firm Carillion.
The porters, domestics and catering staff are determined to stick out to win £5.02 an hour minimum wage and parity with NHS terms and conditions. In east London workers at Whipps Cross Hospital in Waltham Forest this week voted to escalate their strikes against ISS Mediclean. The workers plan to strike for three days beginning next Wednesday.
They have been fighting alongside workers from two other east London trusts, at Homerton University Hospital and at the Mile End and St Clements hospitals for £5.43 an hour or a 10 percent rise (whichever is greater). At Homerton University Hospital workers voted to accept an offer from ISS Mediclean of £5 an hour minimum wage now, rising to £5.15 next April.
The firm has agreed to work towards harmonising the terms and conditions, except pensions, of contracted and NHS staff by 2006. In Tower Hamlets, the threat of action by workers at Mile End and St Clements hospitals forced their bosses, Compass Medirest, to offer a £5.17 an hour minimum wage now, rising to £5.34 an hour next April.
Medirest has offered workers a limited sick pay scheme and two days extra leave for those that have worked for the firm for three years or more. These offers are from companies that previously refused to negotiate-and show that nothing terrifies them more than the prospect of workers taking action. The 360 ancillary workers at Whipps Cross, however, are rightly convinced they can force ISS Mediclean to cough up more money.
Solidarity from health and other workers is crucial to make sure the strikes in North Lincolnshire and at Whipps Cross have the maximum impact.
Send messages of support and donations: Scunthorpe: c/o J Koper, 44 Cliff Garden, Scunthorpe DN15. Cheques payable to Scunthorpe Health Branch Hardship Fund.
East London: Unison, Mile End Hospital, Bancroft Road, London E1 4DG. Cheques payable to East London Healthworkers Solidarity Fund.