A MASS Rally of over 150 Serco strikers and supporters took place at Walthamstow’s Whipp’s Cross Hospital yesterday morning, as part of their two-week strike demanding that the workforce is taken ‘in-house’ and that they work directly for the NHS with NHS pay and conditions.
Len Hockey, the Unite Rep for the hospital, congratulated everyone for coming, and on their dedication which was ‘an example to every struggling worker.’
He welcomed the Royal London hospital contingent. ‘Unity is strength’ he said.
He gave an update, saying: ‘The company is heading out of the door. They offered 1% which is an insult to workers who have been fighting to keep services going through the pandemic. On the 7 December we met Serco and on the 8 December there was a 98% vote for strike action. Suddenly they began to find money. The Trust found 1% and Serco 1% and now its 3%.
‘We can make it more. There is still a big gap to reach the pay of NHS workers.
‘For years there has been discrimination against workers doing essential jobs. We are not going to be downtrodden. Hear us Barts Trust! Your union’s leaders have been meeting Barts Trust. They are considering it and Barts trust will decide.
‘Workers have been sacked by phone, while visiting sick relatives in Nigeria. We hold them responsible. Gas and electricity prices are undergoing the biggest hike for 30 years.
‘The strike is due to end on 13th February and then people will go back to work. They meet in the first week of March, after that if there is no improvement, we will resume action. Workers must be taken “in-house” with NHS terms and conditions.
‘We are part of the working class, alongside the nurses, bus drivers and shopworkers and all.’
Nathan from the RMT rail union spoke next. He said: ‘It is tremendous to see you. We have the same thing in Transport for London. The ABM cleaners are outsourced and treated like yourselves. There are cuts to us all. Our union has voted for a 48-hour strike.
‘They imposed the night tube on us after the pandemic. There has been a ballot for action on pensions and pay and other conditions. The management wrote direct to our homes and with emails telling us not to vote.
‘They are using the anti- union laws against us. You have defeated these laws. Sweetheart unions that do deals, sell out. Comrades, congratulations for this fantastic show of support.’