Socialist Worker

Strike wins equal pay at Doncaster hospital

by Trevor Jones
Issue No. 2653

Solid support on the picket line in Doncaster

Solid support on the picket line in Doncaster (Pic: Trevor Jones)


A strike by health workers at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has forced outsourcing giant Sodexo to give them NHS rates of pay.

The Unison and GMB union members began a three-day strike last Wednesday—and planned further action throughout this month.

They won by the second day of their walkout.

Sue Cookman, Unison regional organiser, said, “This is down to the sheer determination of these workers.

“It shows what can be achieved when they stand together to fight for what they are owed.”

Jenny Moorhouse, a Unison health and safety rep, spoke to Socialist Worker on the first day of the action. She said, “The strike is fantastic.

“The mood is great and the union has been really supportive of the industrial action.”

Undermine 

The 78 cleaners, porters and other support staff were privatised to Sodexo in January 2017. Bosses refused to maintain NHS rates of pay, meaning workers were up to £1,000 a year worse off.

They tried their best to undermine the strike. Jenny said, “Sodexo were bringing in casual, minimum wage staff to break the strike.

“They’ve been coming from Manchester, Stoke-on-Trent, and even as far as Devon.

“And Sodexo said it can’t afford to honour our agreed pay rise.”

But the win in Doncaster shows that calling longer action—rather than just one-day strikes—can win quick results.

It follows victories over equal pay at Liverpool Women’s Hospital and the Royal Bolton Hospital, Greater Manchester, last year.


Ballot over pay in Avon and Wiltshire mental health 

Unison union members at a mental health hospitals trust in Avon and Wiltshire are balloting for strikes over pay and job cuts.

They work as admin workers and medical secretaries.

Bosses at the Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust want to push through a damaging restructure. This would axe 53 full time posts and the medical secretary role altogether. It would slash pay by 12.5 percent.

Sue Gill, a Unison member, said, “We’re currently paid at the band 4 rate of pay. The new job descriptions place our roles at band 3, despite very minimal differences in the work that we’ll be expected to do.

“I could lose almost £200 per month.

Workers should vote Yes to strikes in the ballot, which ends on 22 May.


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