Socialist Worker

Health service battles for equal pay justice

by Tomáš Tengely-Evans
Issue No. 2676

Picketing in Blackpool

Picketing in Blackpool (Pic: Unison North West

Two groups of health workers in the north west of England are escalating their fight for equal pay.

Hundreds of Unison union members at Blackpool Victoria Hospital and St Helens and Knowsley Hospital struck on Monday.

It was the first of six planned strikes by cleaners and support workers employed by subcontractor Compass. They are demanding the same rates of pay as workers who are employed directly by the NHS.

Workers were set to strike again on Wednesday and Friday this week and Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday next week.

The strikes come as Compass bosses’ tried to silence workers under the company’s social media policy.

Pat Woolham, a Unison regional organiser, said “Compass has targeted dedicated hospital workers who spoke out about the injustice that has driven them to strike.It’s time for Compass to pay the NHS rate for NHS jobs or leave our health service.”

A Compass worker received a standing ovation at the Unison North West regional council meeting last weekend.

Meanwhile Unison members at Addaction struck for three days from last Wednesday.

The workers were outsourced from the NHS to charity Addaction, which runs the service on a contract to Wigan council. They are demanding the same pay rise that workers on NHS pay scales received last year.

Kathryn Herbert, a Unison rep at Addaction, said, “We have been overwhelmed by the support we have received from the community, including from local people who use Addaction’s services.

Every trade unionist should build support for these strikes.

Tweet support to @NorthWestUnison

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