HOSPITAL BOSSES in South Durham crumbled in the face of a threatened three-day strike by medical secretaries last week. Bosses gave in to the women workers' demand for regrading. Workers accepted the deal at a mass meeting on Friday of last week. This is the second NHS trust to back down.
Bosses in the north east of England have been faced with a wave of strike action by medical secretaries to win a better pay rise. The bosses at the Northumbria NHS trust backed down last month and gave medical secretaries more pay after workers had voted overwhelmingly for strikes. Workers in South Tyneside have also joined in the action. Medical secretaries at the South Tyneside District Hospital joined the picket line for a one-day strike on Friday of last week.
They have now voted to escalate their action and will strike for three days this week. Medical secretaries in Sunderland were still on an indefinite strike to win a similar pay rise at the beginning of this week. On Tuesday of this week news came in that trust bosses in Sunderland had been forced to offer the medical secretaries a new deal.
It is clear that trust bosses have been hit hard by the impact of the strike on the running of the hospital. Workers have rejected previous offers from management which tried to divide strikers by only moving a section of workers up the pay scale. Socialist Worker did not have full details before we went to press. The strikers were set to vote on the offer on Wednesday of this week.
Whatever the final outcome in Sunderland, the victories in Northumbria and South Durham, and of medical secretaries in Glasgow last year, have shown that action can get results. A section of low paid women workers have shown they can take on hospital bosses and win better pay.
The Northern Region of the workers' Unison union has called a demonstration in support of the medical secretaries in Sunderland next Saturday, 20 April. If the strike continues the union needs to pull out all the stops to ensure a big turnout of hospital workers and other trade unionists on the day. The march can be a focus for winning solidarity with the action both in Sunderland and South Tyneside.
LOW PAY NO WAY
Victory to the medical secretaries Saturday 20 April, 12 noon Royal Hospital, Kayall Road, Sunderland Called by Unison Northern Region