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Dundee porters enter sixth week of action
The Dundee hospital porters are into their sixth week of all-out strike action as we go to press and they are as strong and determined as ever.
Initial discussions are now due to start as part of the NHS Scottish Terms and Conditions Committee (STAC) review of the porters' grading. The STAC process was offered by NHS Tayside management to "provide the platform upon which the dispute can be resolved".
It has dawned on managers that the 117 Unite members will not go back to work until they have their grading changed with compensation for historic underpayment.
A porter on band one, working 37.5 hours a week at Ninewells and Royal Victoria hospitals, currently takes home around £250 a week. Moving to band two, in line with the majority of porters across Tayside and Scotland, would mean a £50 weekly increase.
The propaganda offensive against the strikers by NHS Tayside bosses has continued. Unite, said NHS Tayside Chief Executive Lesley McLay, was acting "contrary to what we would consider to be the normal actions of a reasonable trade union".
The message from striking porters like Mark Gilligan, Mark McDonald and Graham Nelson is "welcome to the new normal". They are, along with scores of other porters, the backbone of the daily protests outside the hospital.
"The solidarity is still pouring in," they told the Socialist. Unite senior steward Graham Nelson added: "We've now had over £20,000 in donations from the public and cheques from other trade unions across Scotland and the UK."
Graham addressed the recent May Day march in Dundee, the biggest for years, as hundreds of trade unionists, led by the porters, marched through the city to huge public support. One person stopped her car at the protest line and donated £100.
The backing given to the strike by Trade Unionist and Socialist Coaltition (TUSC) supporters and Socialist Party Scotland members - combined with the complete lack of support from the SNP and the Scottish government - resulted in many of the porters voting for Jim McFarlane, Dundee West TUSC candidate, in the election.
A coachload of porters will be in Glasgow this week to show support to the striking homelessness caseworkers. They will also be protesting at the Scottish parliament next week.
In The Socialist 13 May 2015:
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