Socialist Worker

Health workers round-up: NHS support staff stage defiant action

by Tomáš Tengely-Evans
Issue No. 2677

Compass workers are showing the way

Compass workers are showing the way (Pic: Unison North West/Facebook)


Hundreds of health workers across the north west of England are holding firm against bosses’ plans to impose a new pay deal.

Striking support staff at Blackpool Victoria Hospital and St Helens and Knowsley Hospital received letters from bosses.

These indicated that they would impose a new pay deal last week.

Cleaners and caterers all threw letters into a bin on the picket line, saying, “It’s a no from me.”

The Unison union members struck three days last week and on Sunday and Tuesday of this week.

They were set to walk out this Thursday to demand subcontractor Compass gives them the same rates of pay as workers directly employed by the NHS.

They chanted, “Low pay, no way—same job, same pay.”

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At Whiston hospital workers hung a banner reading, “No moral compass” from the roof of a multi-storey car park.

Their dispute comes after workers won NHS rates of pay at the Liverpool Women’s Hospital and Bolton Royal Infirmary in the last year.

A combination of calling hard-hitting industrial action and solidarity forced bosses to cough up.

Every trade unionist should build solidarity for the fight to make sure the Compass workers join the list of victories.


Tayside workers win new job evaluations

Pharmacy workers in Scotland said there is “light at the end of the tunnel” as they began the 10th week of an all-out strike on Monday.

Unite union members at Tayside NHS have been promised job evaluation panel hearings by the Scottish Terms and Conditions Committee (Stac) on Thursday of this week.

They are fighting against a “flawed job evaluation” that left “some workers on lower grades than they should be”.

Stac, a joint bosses’ and unions’ body, is then scheduled to hold “consistency checking” on Tuesday of next week.

A statement from Unite said it hopes “the overwhelming evidence presented to Stac will ensure our members get the outcome they rightfully deserve".


More workers set to join Lincolnshire health workers’ struggle for pay justice

The battle over Lincolnshire health workers’ pay heats up as more workers are set to vote on whether to join the action.

Unite union general secretary Len McCluskey has slammed Lincolnshire council bosses’ “divide and rule” tactics in the long-running health visitors dispute.

McCluskey said health visitors have struck for 32 days since the summer “for fair pay and what is rightfully theirs”.

“They have lost over £2,000 a year since being transferred from the NHS to the county council,” he told the annual conference of Unite’s Community Practitioners’ and Health Visitors’ Association section.

“It’s a move they never wanted and should never have happened.

He said bosses were “trying divide and rule tactics by splitting the role in two on different grades.”

Health visitors were transferred from the NHS to the local authority in October 2017.

They have not received a pay rise since, even though both NHS and council workers have seen pay deals in that period.

Unite has escalated the dispute by balloting for strikes all of its health visitor members at the local authority.

Workers should start getting ready to take to the picket lines and vote Yes in the ballot, which ends on Friday of this week.

A victory for this low paid, predominately women workforce would be a victory for every trade unionist.


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