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Weekly claps for carers can become big protests over coronavirus

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Issue 2702
Hospital workers and supporters in Bradford during the weekly clap for carers
Hospital workers and supporters in Bradford during the weekly clap for carers (Pic: Neil Terry)

Health workers and campaigners have been raising slogans against the Tories during the weekly Clap for the NHS on Thursdays.

Outside some hospitals, workers come outside for the weekly claps.

In Manchester, health workers and campaigners organised a ten-car cavalcade at South Manchester hospital on Thursday of last week.

With cars draped in homemade posters, they parked by the hospital.

People chanted, “Test, test, test, PPE, keep our workers virus free,” and “Test, test, test, PPE, keep our frontline virus free.”

On the same night, supporters of the West Midlands Coronavirus Action Group went down to a hospital in Birmingham.

In other places, activists have turned the weekly claps into a socially distanced protest on their street.

Rebecca, a health worker in Sheffield, told Socialist Worker, “Everyone was out and even people who couldn’t come out were in windows.

“I went up and down the street with a megaphone and placards, chanting about PPE for all key workers.

“The following week our neighbours asked us if we could bring out the megaphone again.”

Lewisham Hospital cleaners bag a ‘significant win’ on pay

Outsourced workers at a south east London hospital have won a “significant win” after a walkout last month.

The action by Lewisham Hospital cleaners has forced subcontractor ISS to cough up unpaid wages.

Workers were angry after they didn’t receive their full wages in February.

After bosses failed to pay up in March, workers staged an unofficial lunchtime walkout.

The workers’ GMB union said they have now been “paid in full with backpay which brings the cleaners’ hourly rate of pay up to £10.55 an hour”.

Helen O’Connor, a GMB union organiser, said, “These brave hospital cleaners endured threats and bullying throughout their dispute, but their persistence has now paid off.

“The success of the Lewisham Hospital campaign shows that when unions and communities work together, they can and do win against corporate power.”

The win in Lewisham shows it’s right to keep up workers’ struggle during the coronavirus crisis.

Workers should not go along with Labour leaders’ appeal for social peace and national unity.

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