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Health round up: A fight for dignity and respect at St Mary’s Hospital

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Issue 2678
Patients and pickets united at St Mary’s
Patients and pickets united at St Mary’s (Pic: Petros Elia )

Cleaners, porters and caterers from St Mary’s hospital in west London began 15 days of strikes on Monday demanding equality with NHS staff.

The workers are members of the United Voices of the World (UVW) union and are presently employed by Sodexo.

Paulos said he was on strike for “dignity and respect”.

Pay was important, but other things mattered as well.

He explained that workers didn’t get the three sets of uniforms they were promised.

They were not even provided with changing facilities and were forced to change in unsuitable locations throughout the hospital at the beginning and end of shifts.

And finally—possibly the biggest insult—they were not even allowed to use the canteen. This is the canteen they are working in. Petros, the UVW organiser, said there were cleaning and catering staff who have worked at St Mary’s for 20 and, in one case, 32 years.

“These are permanent and essential jobs” he said.

Petros added that the hospital was swarming with management the night before the strike as bosses planned their strikebreaking operation.

The strikers are in a great mood and gave loud cheers when union reps from Imperial College turned up to show solidarity.

Many bus drivers offered their support by tooting their horns as they passed by.

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Pharmarcy workers have victory in their sights 

Scottish pharmacy workers are hoping for victory in their long-running dispute.

The Unite union members at NHS Tayside have been on all-out strike over a “flawed job evaluation” since August.

The Scottish Terms and Conditions Committee held a job evaluation panel hearing last Thursday.

Workers hope for an NHS band 3 pay grade and compensation for loss of earnings during the last 12 years.

They have stayed on picket lines for 11 weeks, refusing to go back on promises of justice in the future. Halloween picket parties were set for Thursday this week.

Meanwhile, health visitors in Lincolnshire are heading for further walkouts after an overwhelming vote to strike.

Unite union members voted by 67 percent to strike against the Tory-run council’s “divide and rule tactics”.

Around 50 health visitors staged 32 days of strikes since July to demand equal pay. They were transferred from the NHS to the council in October 2017—but did not receive a pay rise despite both NHS and local government pay deals.

They will be joined by other health visitors—who worked at the council all along—demanding the higher pay grade for all workers. They are currently split across the lower 9 and higher 10 grade.

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