A mass meeting of cleaning, catering and laundry workers at Fazakerley hospital, Merseyside, voted to suspend their strike action last week.
Just hours before the meeting Initial Services, who employ domestics on private contracts, rang a GMB union official and offered to increase pay rates from £4.85 an hour to £5.50 an hour. This is to be backdated to 1 June.
Though the details were still slightly sketchy, they were put to strikers.
The strike committee’s unanimous recommendation to temporarily halt action was overwhelmingly accepted by workers at the meeting.
Unison and T&G union officials argued that strikes would be back on if talks with the government about contracted staff coming under Agenda for Change, the sweeping review of pay and conditions in the NHS, were not successful.
All were agreed that the three one-day strikes, with little scabbing, had forced Initial’s hand.
One steward told Socialist Worker, “They’ll be worried about losing the contract with the trust.
“It’s not just about money. They haven’t mentioned sick pay or extra holidays. I think we should take the offer and if they don’t budge we should strike again.
“For Initial to start climbing down is great — the money’s really needed, but it’s not over yet.”
A long debate heard several workers argue that to stop now is to take the pressure off Initial.
Frank, a cleaner, said, “We should keep the momentum. Initial knew they might face an all-out strike. That’s why they rang the union up.”
Workers are set to lobby local MPs on Thursday 14 July as part of a wider anti-cuts campaign.
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