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Reports round-up: defiant protest at Great Ormond Street Hospital

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News in brief from workers’ struggles
Issue 2795
Black worker on strike at Great Ormond Street Hospital with large megaphone.

Workers at the Great Ormond Street Hospital strike make their voices heard (Pic: Guy Smallman)

Workers on strike at Great Ormond Street Hospital returned to picket lines last week after they were previously barred from mounting protests near the hospital.

The members of the UVW union have already completed three weeks of a six‑week strike to demand that they are brought in house. They also want the same terms and conditions as those directly employed by the NHS. Activists, strikers and supporters gathered for a strike rally last Friday.

At one point the boss of the hospital’s security guards was seen watching the protesters. Bosses have run to the courts to get an injunction banning strikers from protesting near the hospital. Striker Erica told the crowd, “Our own manager is looking at us, prepared to reach the police to arrest us if it’s necessary.”

Outsourced health workers in Halifax, West Yorkshire, are protesting for better pay and conditions against hated outsourcer ISS.

The GMB union members—cleaners, caterers, porters and security workers—demonstrated outside Calderdale Royal Hospital last week. ISS pays only the minimum wage while other nearby hospitals in Bradford, Leeds and Doncaster pay £1.28 an hour more. Many Calderdale workers don’t receive weekend enhancements and are on a lower night rate.

Steaming ahead with strike in Rugby

Strikes at GE Steam Power in Rugby continued last Friday and on Monday this week.

GE Steam Power bosses are refusing to negotiate over flexible working payments and they expect workers will take on new roles without extra pay.  More than 75 Unite union members—nearly the whole workforce—are set to strike for a further eight days between Friday of next week and 2 May.

Lager ‘drought’ if payroll not fixed

Around 1,700 beer delivery workers employed by GXO are voting on strikes. Workers in Manchester, Derby, Coventry, Livingston, Thatcham and Normanton are angry at long standing issues with the logistic giant’s payroll system.

For months they have suffered delayed payments and underpayments of wages, pension contributions and holiday pay. The Unite union says it could result in a lager “drought” if the workers vote for strikes in a ballot that closes on Friday of next week.

Pay battle at a Bristol warehouse

Over 250 warehouse workers employed by DHL on the outsourced Sainsbury’s contract are to be balloted for strikes over pay.

The workers in the Unite union are based at the distribution centre in Emerald Park in Bristol. The distribution centre supplies Sainsbury’s stores throughout south west England and as far as west Wales. The workers are on three separate contracts with different rates for the same job.

The lowest paid is on £11.22 an hour. Unite is seeking an increase of at least £1.70 an hour on basic rates of pay, a 13 per cent increase for the lowest paid.

DHL has refused to make an offer that increases the basic rate of pay, instead offering one-off payments and bonus schemes. Bosses have also attacked workers’ conditions including sick pay and holiday pay.

Bad pay offer fuels gas workers’ anger

Up to 2,000 workers at gas company Cadent are voting on whether to strike. Workers at the company were offered a tiny four percent pay increase, much less than inflation.

The members of the GMB union are also angry that their terms and conditions have been decimated over the years. Cadent is one of the biggest distributors in the country and made a staggering £901 million in profits last year.

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