HEALTH WORKERS in Swansea look to have forced giant private contractors ISS Mediclean into offering at least some staff better pay. The workers' Unison union postponed a week-long strike which was due to begin on Monday of this week. Over 500 low paid health workers working for ISS Mediclean have already taken three days of strike action.
The offer from the private firm came after workers voted unanimously to escalate the strike. The workers at four hospitals in Swansea are fighting for the ISS Mediclean workers to receive the same pay and conditions as those still working for the NHS.
ISS Mediclean is one of the world's biggest private operators in the public sector. Bosses and union officials were still negotiating the details of the deal when Socialist Worker went to press. It appeared that ISS Mediclean had offered some ancillary workers a 12 percent rise.
Like the victory of Glasgow health workers against the multinational Sodexho, strike action can force hardline private companies to negotiate. But the firm's offer would seem to leave the workers short of full NHS terms and conditions. It is also unclear whether all staff will benefit. Some of the workers, especially those who used to be on NHS terms and conditions before the transfer, are angry the strike was suspended.
If the Swansea deal falls short, the 500 Swansea workers must pressure their union leaders to call more strikes and force the firm to offer more.
STOP PRESS: Ancillary workers at Hairmyres Hospital in East Kilbride have voted overwhelmingly to take strike action against ISS Mediclean. They are demanding £5 an hour and NHS conditions.