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From The Socialist newspaper, 6 January 2010

Support striking Devon health workers

Just before Christmas, low paid workers working for the private contractors Sodexo at North Devon District Hospital voted 97%-3% to take strike action. There is an agreement which means that by 2006 they should have received the same pay and terms and conditions as NHS-employed staff doing equivalent work. But they are still grossly underpaid and do not receive sick pay.

Northern Devon Healthcare Trust was given the money by the Department of Health (DoH) to finance the agreement. It has been asked to abide by the agreement many times, by Unison and the DoH, but it has failed to do so.

Mark Harper, branch chair, Unison North Devon Health branch said: "Members have been met with misinformation and threats from management but are undeterred. It is hoped that a by-product of this dispute will be to show management that the workers will no longer tolerate the bullying they receive on a regular basis."

The Sodexo workers are striking on 5-6 January. They are asking for messages of support from individuals, union branches and other organisations. They are also asking for donations to the strike fund.

All messages of support and solidarity, and donations (cheques made payable to North Devon Unison Health branch) should be sent to: Bindy Sumner, Unison branch secretary, Suite 2, Munro House, North Devon District Hospital, Raleigh Park, Barnstaple, North Devon.
Email: unisonhealthndevon@hotmail.co.uk
Jim Lowe

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