Socialist Worker

Health round up: Strikes build against outsourcers in the NHS

by Tomáš Tengely-Evans
Issue No. 2679

On the Addaction picket line in Leigh

On the Addaction picket line in Leigh (Pic: Unison North West)

Two groups of outsourced health workers are stepping up their fight for equal pay.

Unison union members at the Addaction drug rehabilitation charity in Wigan and Leigh walked out on Monday.

It marked the beginning of a five-day strike and their fourth round of industrial action in their fight for equal pay.

Workers are demanding the subcontractor gives them NHS rates of pay.

They were outsourced from the NHS to Addaction, which runs the service on a contract from the Labour council.

The walkout comes after the charity’s chief executive Mike Dixon left to work for the austerity-monger Liberal Democrats.


Paddy Cleary, a Unison North West regional organiser, said, “We sincerely hope he treats Lib Dem party staff with more respect and honesty than the Addaction staff in Wigan and Leigh.

He added, “These workers give an invaluable service to the community, providing front line support at a time when their services are more in demand than ever.”

Meanwhile, around 70 health visitors in Lincolnshire have announced plans for a month-long walkout over pay from 18 November.

It marks a serious escalation by the Unite union members.

Most of them have already struck for over 30 days since the summer.

Around 50 health visitors were transferred from the NHS to the Tory-run local authority in October 2017.

They have not received a pay rise since then.

This dispute involves other health workers who worked at the council before the transfer.

They are demanding that all health visitors are put on the higher “grade 10” pay band.

Tayside pharmacy workers battle on 

Scottish pharmacy workers have remained on the picket line after their hopes of a pay deal were dashed last week.

The Unite union members at Tayside have been on indefinite strike since August over a “flawed job evaluation process”.

They were hoping that a Scottish Terms and Conditions Committee (Stac) would award them the higher NHS pay band 3 last week.

But this didn’t happen. A statement from the workers explained, “Stac have concerns that not all postholders will be undertaking certain aspects of the job description.

“This is not a failure of the postholders.

“So why should they be punished?”

The workers could return to work on Monday of next week, 11 November, because of anti-union laws.

A ballot gives workers an official mandate for industrial action for 12 weeks, meaning bosses cannot use “selective dismissal” against strikers.

If they stay out beyond that, they lose some protections. But some strikes have defied the 12-week law.

If Tayside bosses refuse to grant an extension, the union should keep up the strike.

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