Socialist Worker

Workers ready for all out strike in Bradford NHS fight

by Tomáš Tengely-Evans
Issue No. 2667

Strikers picketing on Monday

Strikers picketing on Monday (Pic: Neil Terry)


Hundreds of health ­workers in West Yorkshire have voted to start an indefinite strike from Monday 26 August against a dangerous new form of privatisation.

The 300 Unison union members at the Royal Bradford Infirmary and StLuke’s Hospital walked out on 1 August.

It was their second strike against bosses’ plans that could see them lose their NHS wages and terms and conditions.

Ami, the Unison branch secretary, told Socialist Worker, “We had a members’ meeting last week and it was packed. There was a consensus for continuous strikes.”

Ami said the two-week walkout had strengthened workers’ resolve to stop the outsourcing plans.

“People are still solid,” he said. “People are quite disappointed that they have to go back to work.

“They want to keep the strike going and try to get management to shift.”

Bosses want to move the porters, cleaners and other support staff to Bradford Healthcare Facilities Management Ltd on 1 October.

It would be a wholly?owned subsidiary, a ­privately?registered company whose sole shareholder is the hospital trust.

Attractive

This would allow hospital bosses to drive down ­workers’ wages and terms and conditions, making the service more attractive for a private company.

Bosses had claimed that they could safeguard NHS wages and terms and conditions for 25 years after the transfer.

But at a meeting with workers they were forced to admit that they could give no legal guarantee of this.

There would be little or no protection against a future management decision to impose new contracts with worse pay and conditions.

Bradford MPs Judith Cummins, Imran Hussain, John Grogan and Naz Shah have repeatedly slammed the Trust’s planned new company.

Ami said, “The loss of NHS status is the number one thing for workers, it would mean being outside the NHS family.

“There are big concerns about pay and terms and conditions and the threat of being sold off later.”

Every trade unionist should support their fight.

What you can do
Donate to the strike fund. Make a bank transfer to Unity Trust. Sort code 60-83-01, account number 49021215
Send cheques payable to “Bradford Health Services Branch” to Unison Office, Field House, Bradford Royal Infirmary, Duckworth Lane, Bradford BD9 6RJ
You can also donate at bit.ly/Bradfordstrike
Send a message of support to strikers via the Unison Bradford Health Branch Facebook page

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