Socialist Worker

Health service round-up

Issue No. 2018

Whipps Cross fight on

Workers at Whipps cross hospital in east London are appealing for support in their ongoing battle for equal pay.

Over 200 domestics, porters and catering staff, who are employed by Rentokil Initial, are fighting to receive the same pay and conditions as colleagues employed directly by the NHS.

The workers, members of Unison union, have already taken eight days of strike action.

They are considering another five-day strike in the near future if talks at the Acas conciliation service, planned for later this month, don’t produce results.

Len Hockey is the Unison joint branch secretary for the hospital. He said, “Originally our employers said that they didn’t have a penny to help settle the dispute, but now they are starting to find some money.

“We are appealing to people to support our fight by sending messages and donations towards the strike fund.”

Cheques should be made payable to Unison and marked clearly as donations to the Whipps Cross dispute c/o Chris Remington, Unison London region, Congress House, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3LS.

Anger in Birmingham

Over 300 people attended a demonstration in Birmingham city centre against cuts and privatisation of our NHS on Saturday of last week.

The demonstration was organised by the West Midlands Pensioners Convention, with support from trade unions and local activists from Respect and the Green Party.

A lively demonstration was lead by a local jazz band to a rally which was addressed by several speakers.

Sally Ruane from the Leicestershire Save Our NHS campaign said that she believed “passionately that the NHS is essential to all of us. It was founded on the principles of fairness and solidarity. There is no better foundation for a rational and efficient health service.”

A staff nurse from Good Hope Hospital said, “I was recently qualified and had difficulties getting a job because of the cuts and freezes on many vacancies in many trust hospitals. There is too much money spent on the wrong things, like too many managers.”

Many felt frustrated and angry at these attacks coming from a Labour government.

Harish Dalal

Defending vulnerable people

Fifty people joined an angry, lively and noisy march from Kennington Park to Brixton in south London on Saturday of last week to protest against plans to cut £13 million from mental health services.

Resources under threat range from specialist services for older people and children, to nursing homes and crisis services.

After a huge public outcry proposals to close the emergency clinic at the Maudsley Hospital have been referred to the secretary of state. The demonstration was organised by Lambeth Mental Health and Disabled People’s Action Group and Southwark Mind.

The proposed cuts will affect everyone - patients, relations and carers. Vulnerable people could be left isolated at home on their own. The threatened services are crucial to the wellbeing of those affected. We plan to hold more activities against the cuts.

Mary Phillips

No to Plymouth closures

Around 2,000 health workers and supporters marched through Plymouth last Saturday, in protest against threats of 400 compulsory redundancies.

The demonstration was called at less than a week’s notice following announcements by the management of increased job losses, the closure of two wards and bed cuts at the local Derriford hospital.

Around 28,000 people have been involved over the last month, with anger and organisation growing.

Local managers withheld the publication of the first 70 compulsory redundancies in anticipation of the protest.

There has also been an announcement that hospital workers employed by the ministry of defence are to be compulsorily posted to Afghanistan in the next few weeks.

At the rally, the loudest cheers were in response to speakers linking the health cuts to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Visit for more information.

Tony Staunton, Secretary, Plymouth Trade Union Council

Stop the cuts in Grantham

Up to 8,000 people demonstrated in Grantham, Lincolnshire, last Saturday. They were protesting against planned cuts to emergency and maternity services at Grantham Hospital.

Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS trust has threatened the cuts as part of a cost saving package to tackle a £15 million defiecit. The plan would mean hundreds of job losses as well as cuts to vital services.

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Sat 16 Sep 2006, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 2018
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