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From The Socialist newspaper, 6 February 2013

Whipps Cross workers prepare for fight against jobs and pay cuts

A Whipps Cross hospital worker

On 1 February a lunchtime union meeting of over 80 domestic and portering day workers at Whipps Cross hospital, east London heard about the branch's plans to fight the threatened pay and hours cuts.

The consultation document issued by the contractor, Initial, says that 41 jobs are affected. The plans, described by Initial as "Phase One" and in the document as the "initial steps", are only the start.

The company is threatening the pay and hours of every domestic, porter and switchboard worker in Whipps Cross in other potential 'phases'.

The meeting launched a petition aiming for 1,000 signatures which members were urged to get filled in. A survey asking members to vote yes to be balloted for strike action has been posted to members.

Strike action to stop the cuts was overwhelmingly supported by a show of hands at the meeting.

Whipps Cross: A decisive fight

The Socialist issue 750 report on the 1997-2006 struggle of workers at Whipps Cross to defend the NHS, and the wages and conditions of workers reveals a model of how to organise.

The drawing together of traditionally organised workers and workers entirely new to organised labour, and the method of highlighting the shared interests of all workers, irrespective of their background or level of skill, is a model which should be absorbed by all socialist activists.

The pushing back of the sustained onslaught by bosses who used every device in the book, with the assistance of right-wing trade union bureaucrats, could only be achieved by forging the maximum solidarity of the work force.

This stands as a magnificent demonstration to other sections of NHS workers who are facing death by a thousand cuts.

Whipps Cross again emphasises another lesson which is: that while the power remains with the capitalist class any victory is temporary.

They will bide their time and ruthlessly test out the weaknesses of the workers, usually in conjunction with narrow-minded trade union bureaucrats, and then move to claw back any concessions they were forced to make.

Nevertheless, the wonderful example of Whipps Cross should be stored in the collective memory of the working class and applied continuously, a role very effectively played by the Socialist Party.

Tony Mulhearn

Read the article:Privatisation bleeding the NHS dry

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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.
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In The Socialist 6 February 2013:


Socialist Party NHS campaigning

Fight to save NHS

Revolt against pay cuts strengthened at Mid-Yorkshire NHS

Lewisham hospital protests continue

Whipps Cross workers prepare for fight against jobs and pay cuts

Scrap PFI, not our hospitals


Socialist Party news and analysis

Cracks in the coalition - we must take advantage of the divided enemy

As Gove attacks teachers: NUT leaders - delay no longer

Childcare plans spell disaster

Them & Us


Socialist Party feature

Organised fightback needed to save council services


Socialist Party reviews and comments

Cut tax dodging not benefits

Film review: Steven Spielberg's Lincoln


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Brutal cuts announced in Cardiff

Derby Labour councillors 'oppose' cuts - then vote for them

Tamil Solidarity looks at 65 years of 'independence' in Sri Lanka

Support the Socialist with a May Day greeting

Socialist Party regional conferences


Socialist Party workplace news

Workers tell Bromley council: We won't sign up to your plans

Labour cuts better than Tory ones?

Attempts to force Unison branches to affiliate to Labour

London mayor pressing ahead with fire service cuts

Workplace news in brief


International socialist news and analysis

South Africa: Battle for control of mining sector


 

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