Socialist Worker

How I have organised in my hospital

Issue No. 1937

HEALTH WORKERS in one Sheffield hospital have formed a pensions action group to plan and build a range of activities over the coming weeks and months.

They aim to make sure everyone in the NHS scheme is aware that New Labour wants them to work five more years or will steal £20,000 from their pay.

Jill, who helped pull the group together, said, “Over the last week you can really see the mood changing in the hospital. People have moved from seeing pensions as something in the distant future to understanding that we have to campaign now. The group came together after we had a union meeting explaining the government’s plans.

“There are people from different sections of the hospital and a range of union experience in the group. We have a nurse, a domestic, an occupational therapist, a support worker and a member of the security staff.

“Some of us have been union activists before — others are getting involved for the first time. The phrase you hear lots going around the hospital is, ‘This wasn’t the deal we signed up to over our pensions.’ Blair wants to break a contract that we agreed.

“I’m sure people will be delighted that Unison local government, the PCS and the T&G are balloting for action. Many health workers will want to see us balloting for action too.”

NHS workers are not the only group who are not yet balloting but who are eager for action.

Mick Shaw, firefighters’ FBU union executive member for London says, “The proposed attacks on the fire brigade pension is a major attack on our members. We are not big enough to fight this alone. We need to fight alongside all other public sector workers to have a chance of winning. If Unison strikes, the FBU should strike with them.

“All public sector workers need maximum union action to defeat this attack — and that means taking action together.”

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