Socialist Worker

Vote for pay fight in the NHS and councils

Issue No. 2769

Workers at St Georges hospital in south London protested for a real pay rise last week

Workers at St George's hospital in south London protested for a real pay rise last week


Hundreds of thousands of local government and school support workers in England and Wales are to vote on the employers’ paltry 1.75 percent pay offer.

With inflation running at twice that figure according to the RPI measure, the offer is another cut following years of real terms pay reductions.

The Unison union said, “Local government workers are mostly women, and are amongst the lowest paid in the country.

“Council and school ­workers have endured years of pay freezes—25 percent has been wiped from the value of pay since 2010.”

In Scotland workers are also organising against the employers’ offer of 2 percent for those earning £25-40,000 and 1 percent for higher earners.

Health

Meanwhile activists from several health unions came together last week to mount protests outside hospitals and NHS workplaces.

The action, which was initiated by the GMB union, highlighted the ballots of health workers over the government’s imposed 3 percent pay “increase” in England.

It’s vital that the turnout in the ballots is huge and returns a big No vote to the deal. That could then trigger ballots for strikes or other forms of industrial action.

Already activists are ­posting pictures of ­themselves and fellow workers ­holding signs to show they have voted—and many are itching to take action.

Health workers should use the last weeks of the ballot to push for even more No votes.

The activist group Nurses United has a launched a “Three strikes, we’re out” campaign. They are asking nurses and supporters to take their demand for a 15 percent pay rise to health secretary Sajid Javid’s Bromsgrove constituency office on Saturday 11 September, at 3pm.

Those that can’t join the protest in the Midlands are asked to fill in an online letter that will form part of the protest.

Public sector workers should fight together.

Go to nursesunted.org.uk/3strikes for details of the Bromsgrove protest

Sandwell fire and rehire

Workers at leisure centres run by the Sandwell Leisure Trust in the West Midlands struck on Monday against fire and rehire tactics.

Bosses slashed the pay of some 280 workers after sacking them and then rehiring them on worse contracts.

The strikers’ Unison union is demanding that the trust restores workers’ terms and conditions.

It also wants Labour-run Sandwell council—which outsources the running of its leisure centres to the trust—to intervene.

  • Workers at leisure centres in Lewisham, south London, are being balloted for strikes over pay. The 31 Unite union members employed by Greenwich Leisure Limited at five leisure centres will be balloted from 27 August to 27 September.
  • Refuse workers in Bexley, south London, are still on strike after seven weeks. The 140 Unite union workers started industrial action on 12 July over pay and victimisation.

    Talks between outsourcer Serco and Unite collapsed after the company refused to address the back pay owed to workers


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