NHS workers meet at Leighton Hospital to prepare to strike for pay justice (Picture: Unison North West)

Hundreds of NHS workers are set to go on strike next week after “years of being underpaid”.

More than 450 healthcare and imaging assistants at Mid-Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust will walk out for 75 hours from 16 October.

They work across the trust’s sites at the Elmhurst Centre in Winsford, Victoria Infirmary in Northwich and Leighton Hospital in Crewe

The strikes, the first at the trust on this issue, will begin at 7am and continue on 18 and 20 October, in each case lasting until 8am the following day. Picket lines are 7am to 11am on all three days.

The action was backed by 99 percent of workers, who are paid up to £2,000 less than they should be each year because they perform duties and tasks above their pay band. They rightly want full backdating of their pay award.

Sue, a healthcare assistant at Leighton Hospital, said: “We have had enough of not being paid for the work we do. We’ve gone above and beyond for years, carrying out duties at a higher banding than we’re paid for.

“We have found our voices to finally speak up for what we deserve. Our trust should be ashamed to force its health care assistants to have to go on strike for what they deserve.”

And Clinical Support Workers at Wirral University Teaching Hospitals in Merseyside are striking again to win a proper back pay settlement after they were regraded.

They have announced five strike days from 23-27 October, beginning at 7am each day.

Around 70 Workers in the Unite union at NHS outsourcing company Mitie are voting on strikes.

Many were previously in the NHS and were transferred across and promised the same pay and conditions.

But Mitie bosses are withholding the “Covid payment” lump sum of up to £1,600 that NHS workers received as part of the NHS pay award this year.

Mitie’s staff work alongside the NHS workforce in the Dudley group of hospitals in the West Midlands. The ballot is set to run until 23 October.

Hospital workers in Croydon, south London, have voted overwhelmingly for strikes in a dispute over contracts. 

The cleaners and porters employed by outsourcing giant G4S at Croydon University Hospital are members of the GMB union. 

They are demanding standard NHS terms and conditions, rather than the inferior ones forced on them by G4S bosses. 

GMB official Helen O’Connor said workers are “sick and tired of being treated worse than everyone else in the NHS even though their jobs are vital to the running of the hospital.” 

“These workers are struggling to make rent payments and feed their families.

“They are not asking for the moon, they just want to be treated fairly and equally and know this would enable Croydon hospital to retain staff.” 

No dates for action have yet been announced. 

On the march to defend the women’s hospital

Hundreds join demo to save women’s hospital

Over 500 people marched in Liverpool last Saturday as part of the ongoing campaign to save the Liverpool Women’s Hospital from potential closure.

Campaigners are concerned about the funding crisis in the NHS and threat to maternity services.

It emerged recently that without public consultation, the chief executive of the large, merged Liverpool University Hospitals Foundation Trust is to be made also chief executive of Liverpool Women’s Hospital.

Campaigners see this as a precursor to a merger and the dispersal of services from the women’s hospital.

Constant chants of “No ifs, no buts, no NHS cuts” were aimed at the Tories.

The march ended at the Labour Party conference venue in Liverpool, making it clear that the fight to defend the NHS will continue whoever wins the next general election.

John Carr

Indefinite strike in Solihull

Nearly 250 workers at International Automotive Components (IAC) in Solihull planned to launch an indefinite strike over pay this week. They are in the Unite union.

Most of the workers are paid the minimum wage and rejected a six percent pay uplift that would take their hourly rate to just £11.11.

Other workers, who are paid little more for their roles, have also rejected staggered offers of six, seven and eight per cent.

IAC had global revenues of £2.4 billion in 2021, including £221 million from Britain. Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “IAC generates huge profits and pays its workers poverty wages.

“The pay offer is completely unacceptable and is a real terms pay cut.”

The workers were to begin an indefinite strike on Thursday. The factory produces dashboards and door, roof and boot interiors and a strike will cause shortages for JLR and BMW.

It’s good to see more workers using indefinite strikes. They need the full backing of the union at every level.

Pilots’ strike could halt 21 ports across Britain

Strikes could be coming at 21 ports which handle around a quarter of Britain’s seaborne trade.

The dispute involves maritime pilots in the Unite union at Associated British Ports (ABP). They navigate ships in and out of waterways and ports.

ABP has unilaterally introduced new medical standards for workers.

Unite says it has no objection to improving standards but there has been no negotiations and no detail about how these medical tests will be done or what happens if a worker fails.

The main bulk of Unite members are in South Wales (Swansea, Port Talbot, Barry, Cardiff and Newport), Southampton and the Humber (Port of Hull and Immingham). Unite has formally entered into a dispute. “Pilots hold the keys to the kingdom,” said one worker. “If we stop nothing happens, big ships don’t move. We hold the key.

If a strike ballot is successful, pilots could strike in December. It would be good to hit the pre-Christmas period.

Go North East bus workers were set for a further week of strikes from Saturday. They have already struck from 30 September to 6 October.

Bosses said they are offering a 9.1 percent rise.

But workers said the company was trying to reduce paid meal breaks and lengthen shifts by reducing the paid time to travel between bus stations and depots. It means they are funding their own pay rise.

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