Bring us back ‘in-house’ – demand Barts SERCO strikers

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Striking Unite Barts Hospital Trust Serco workers were joined on a march yesterday by Homerton Hospital Unison members

BARTS Hospital Trust workers organised a march from the hospital to a meeting at Altab Ali Park on the final Friday of their two-week strike action against being outsourced to Serco and to be brought back ‘in-house’ as NHS workers.

Len Hockey the Unite organiser at Whipps Cross Hospital (WXH) gave News Line an update of the struggle.
He said: ‘This fight is continuing. It was only the high ballot result which forced them to shift.
‘We rallied at WXH on Wednesday and St Barts on Friday. It was marvellous. It brought strength and confidence to our sisters and brothers there.
‘Our message is we will no longer be treated as second class citizens in this the biggest NHS hospital trust in England.
‘Some Barts managers will look at this question and are going to recommend to the Board that we be taken back “in-house”. We will have to see. One manager said it may take a couple of years for people to transition to the NHS. We don’t want that!
‘During the pandemic we have been transformed mentally and physically. We have faced low pay, lack of staff, lack of resources and a battle to get PPE. Are we right?’ he asked getting cheers in response.
He continued: This march concludes the first period of action. We are still getting 13% less than what the NHS get.
‘They treat us like a virus. We cannot go into our own hospital to use the toilet. We have the moral high ground. They have the low ground.
‘At the end of last week Barts trust looked at the sum of money. We are now available to discuss from a position of strength
‘We will engage with further action on 28th February. This will coincide with a trust board meeting.
‘Further speakers included a retired GP Anna Livingstone from Doctors-in-Unite and Jose, Secretary of the National Facilities Services branch of Unite in Dagenham.
Jo Walsh, Unite organiser said: ‘More people have joined the strike. We say thanks for support from the teachers’ union, Unite Digital, the construction workers and the firemans’ union.’
Milicent, a London hospital rep said: ‘Thank you. We are very proud of you.
‘Thank you for your hard work. You’ve done so much. This fight is not going to end in vain. It is not for ourselves, we are doing it for the future.
‘Speak to your colleagues when you go back and tell them why we’re here. It’s not just about pay but about terms and conditions, and respect.
‘We are doing the same job as the “in-house” workers. All have to earn the same money as they are doing the same job.’
Morella, a Unite Serco worker from St Barts Hospital, said: ‘I hope in future all the Unite members in Barts join us in fighting for their rights.’
She received reassurance from Jo Walsh that union members would be going across there to talk to the members and reps.
All present then enjoyed a good meal of chicken rice and salad and some danced to the music.