Socialist Worker

Lively pickets as radiographers strike over Tories' pay insult

by Tomáš Tengely-Evans
Issue No. 2425

Striking radiographers and St Mungos workers team up outside University College Hospital

Striking radiographers and St Mungo's housing workers team up outside University College Hospital (Pic: Julie Sherry)

Radiographers across the country walked out of hospitals for four hours today, Monday, in the latest pay strike in the NHS.

The walkout by members of the Society of Radiographers follows last week’s strike of up to 500,000 health workers in the Unison, Unite, GMB unions and the Royal College of Midwives.

Like other NHS workers, radiographers are angry with Tory health secretary Jeremy Hunt for refusing to give even a 1 percent pay rise.

Homerton University Hospital union rep Daniel told Socialist Worker, “We haven’t had a pay rise in five years – and in real terms, it amounts to a near 15 percent pay cut.

“Ever since the Agenda for Change pay and grading scheme was introduced in 2004, we’ve had work two and a half hours more with no pay rise.”

The strike was solidly supported with large and lively picket lines. Workers held up signs which read, “No raise – no rays”.

Around 50 pickets gathered in front of the University College Hospital (UCH) in central London.

Radiographers on a picket in central London

Radiographers on a picket in central London (Pic: Janet Francis)

Workers at housing charity St Mungo’s, who began a week-long strike on Friday of last week, joined radiographers outside UCH.

At Nottingham City Hospital up to 20 joined the picket line. And 25 picketed outside Derriford Hospital in Plymouth.

Workers voiced their anger at the Tories’ refusal to pay health workers a decent wage.


Sam Crompton, a radiographer at Derriford, told Socialist Worker, “I’m so angry that this government are not giving us a pay rise despite the pay review body's suggestion.

Another striker said, “We have estimated that 75 percent of radiographers are out today just from our hospital such is the anger amongst staff.”

Health workers also explained the struggle to get by on low pay – and the other attacks they are facing in the NHS.

Ruhana works in the radiography department at UCH in central London. She told Socialist Worker, “The inflation rate and living costs are going up, but I still need to pay bills and rent.”

“And there is just so much pressure on the service too. They’re trying to make radiography an ‘open department’ with a 24 hour shift system.

“This all means that there is a shortage of radiographers, with little pay prospects or job opportunities,” she explained. 

Workers from other health union showed their support and passers by tooted their horns.

“Today was well supported, but I think coordinated action with the other unions would be a good idea,” said Daniel.

A picket at UCH said, “I’m in this for the long haul, if it takes more action then so be it. And it’s a really good turnout today so that’s momentum to build on.”

Unison leader Dave Prentis said there would be further action in the health service in November and the union is also balloting its members in Wales.

The NHS walkouts show that workers will take action when given a lead. Health unions should name the day for the next strike. 

Radiographers picket in Tooting, south London

Radiographer's picket in Tooting, south London (Pic: Ben Windsor)


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