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From The Socialist newspaper, 5 July 2003

Kick Low Pay Out Of The NHS

PORTERS AND domestics at Royal Bolton Hospital are striking against poverty pay employers ISS Mediclean. The strikers are demanding £5.60 an hour for porters and £5 for domestics and are receiving massive public support.

Hugh Caffrey, Manchester Socialist Party

Low-paid health workers in Whipps Cross hospital, East London are also fighting ISS. And in north Lincolnshire there is a similar battle with contractor Carillion. The need for a generalised fightback by the unions is clear.

The strikers' mood is determined, in Bolton the 98% 'yes' vote for action shows their will to win. But ISS is bent on breaking this dispute. Scabs are being bussed in from elsewhere in Lancashire, from Yorkshire and even flown in from Ireland! They are paid £5 an hour, the union's demand.

Managers and supervisors are being drafted in as well - none of the scabs have proper training and are breaking all the Trust's own rules let alone those of the union. Scabs are openly transporting contaminated waste in wheelbarrows!

There has been strong support from other sections of UNISON, with more promised. UNISON should build on this support with concrete plans for action against ISS on a national level - this will strengthen the local disputes and reduce the ability of ISS to bus in scabs from other places.

Public support has been massive - over £2,000 was raised on the first two days of strike action, almost every car toots its support to the strikers.

Do any readers have any information about ISS Mediclean? Whatever you know will help. Please send it, along with messages of support, to: Union office, Royal Bolton Hospital, Farnworth, Bolton, BL4 0JR. Send copies to the Socialist Party at PO Box 24697, London E11 1YD.

More action at Whipps Cross

THE WHIPPS Cross workers have voted for further strike action on 10 - 11 July and 24 - 26 July.

This is in spite of attempts by management to intimidate the workers, including questioning some of the workers' immigration status. The union is also considering other forms of action, including a boycott of the staff canteen, which would hit ISS's profits.

The Trust and the Strategic Health Authority have recognised that "low pay is a problem" in the hospital, so the campaign has already been vindicated. The Agenda For Change job evaluation scheme says these workers should be paid £5.35 an hour.

Messages of support and donations to: Len Hockey, UNISON office, Whipps Cross Hospital, Leytonstone, London E11 1NR. Cheques payable to: UNISON ISS Whipps Cross Hardship Fund.

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Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

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In The Socialist 5 July 2003:

Bosses Get £Millions: Workers Get Sacked

Kick Low Pay Out Of The NHS

Words Of Mass Distraction

Fuel price rises provoke general strike in Nigeria

LGBT rights: 'Family values' fears produce confused equality measures

Socialism 2003: Enjoyable And Inspiring

"There's A Woman Out There Asking Questions!"

Rail Union's Historic Rule Change

Glad to be groovy at TGWU conference

Building A Mass Alternative To New Labour

Israel/Palestine: What's Behind The 'Ceasefire'?

SATs conference: End These Nightmare Tests

Iraq: Who's Winning The War Of Occupation?

Northern Ireland; Has The Peace Process Permanently Stalled?


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