PORTERS WHO sort and deliver post at the John Radcliffe II Hospital in Oxford walked out on Tuesday of last week when management tried to cut costs by refusing any further overtime.
The NHS trust is trying to recoup a £42 million debt. But as one of the porters said, “We weren’t the ones who caused the overspend. None of the managers has taken a pay cut.
“Management have cut our overtime to the point that some people can’t afford to live on their wages—it’s part of a larger bullying attitude at the trust.”
All ten of the post porters went home in protest. They later returned to work and were in talks with management as Socialist Worker went to press.
MEMBERS OF the Unison union at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary have threatened strike action over “two-tier working” and changes to conditions.
Two-tier working is a product of the partial privatisation of hospitals. Workers doing identical jobs can find themselves on different rates of pay.
Domestic staff in Edinburgh earn £11.20 an hour for working on Sunday if they are NHS employees.
But for those employed by private contractor Haden the overtime rate is £8.13.
The domestics, responsible for cleaning wards, are also concerned about a new “multi-skilling” programme, which will see them taking on new tasks without sufficient training.
Unison branch secretary Mick McGahey said, “If management are not prepared to play ball and recognise the rights of workers and make changes to terms and conditions, then we will be looking to ballot staff with a view to full-scale industrial action.”