‘Our members are solid’, Iceland distribution depot, Enfield, TGWU convenor Dave Brace told News Line on the morning picket line yesterday.
The strikers are fighting a miserly 2.4 per cent pay rise imposed by Iceland contractor DHL Exel and the failure of the contractor to pass on any of the productivity and efficiency gains made by the 115 drivers and 250 warehouse staff.
TGWU senior regional industrial organiser Peter Kavanagh told a mass meeting at the plant that Iceland was complaining that frozen Christmas turkeys are defrosting at their stores in the South East but the union will continue to back the strike and seek a satisfactory settlement.
• Second news story
NUFFIELD ORTHOPEAEDIC UNDER THREAT
OXFORD’S prestigious Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre NHS Trust (NOC) is under threat of closure.
The NHS South Central strategic health authority said that a private sector treatment centre (ISTC) will force the NHS Trust, with an international research reputation, to close down or merge.
Up to 600 patients who would have been treated by Oxford’s NOC have been referred to the Capio Horton ISTC in Banbury, losing the trust essential income.
The NOC is not viable as a separate organisation, confirmed South Central yesterday.
It claimed that the trust will shed much of its remaining ‘generalist work and become more specialist’.
This will mean that it will ‘be far too small to survive on its own and should merge with a larger organisation.’
The NOC receives extra DoH cash to offset the impact of the new payment by results tariffs for its specialist work.
However, this will be withdrawn in 2008/9, exposing the NOC to a £6.5 million deficit.