PORTERS AND domestic staff at North Manchester General Hospital are balloting for strike action over pay. They are employed by multinational ISS Mediclean, which is one of the biggest beneficiaries of the creeping privatisation of the NHS.
Workers employed by ISS Mediclean at Bolton hospital took action and won better pay last year. The North Manchester health workers are now demanding parity with workers in Bolton. They are asking for just £5 an hour from the company, which declared £6.7 million profit in 2001.
Strikes in the last 18 months involving similar groups of workers and similar contractors have all ended with improvements in pay and, in many cases, a return to NHS conditions. If the North Manchester action goes ahead it can help to focus the feeling against privatisation in the NHS.
At every level the Unison union should be pushing for a fight against low pay in the NHS.