‘SAVING EALING MATERNITY IS VITAL!’ – workers tell the News Line

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West London Council of Action picket of Ealing Hospital demanding trade unions support an occupation of the hospital to stop the closure
West London Council of Action picket of Ealing Hospital demanding trade unions support an occupation of the hospital to stop the closure

AT EALING Hospital yesterday morning, midwives, nurses and other workers told News Line that they want trade union action to stop the closure of the maternity department on 1st July and they would support an occupation.

Three midwives said: ‘We are sad and frustrated.

‘You can ask any of the clients and they will tell you that we have very high standards here. We’ve been kept in the dark, there has been no explanation of why we have to close. This is a nice maternity, it should be saved.’

Another midwife said: ‘I’ve been working here 18 years. We’ve all been told to go elsewhere. It’s very hard, especially if you’ve worked here so long. Of course the trade unions should take action to stop the closure.’

Kathleen George, a Unison member and domestic worker, said: ‘My son’s girlfriend is pregnant and she has to travel to Queen Charlotte’s from Greenford, which is ridiculous when she’s got a hospital on her doorstep. I had two of my children here and it’s a wonderful maternity. The unions haven’t done or said anything to oppose what’s happening.’

Unison member Gerry Bolan said: ‘The unions should fight and stop the maternity department closing.’

Caroline Shervill, a mental health admin worker, said: ‘It’s ridiculous. These are very well used services and other providers are going to get swamped. Occupying will show that people are serious and have strong opinions. We are a large catchment area and all the services at Ealing Hospital are absolutely needed. They are gradually closing wards at mental health. I’ve worked here 29 years and it feels like they are running things down. They are already knocking things down. We all know that what they want to do is build luxury apartments on this land.’

Nurse and Unison member Fiona Hibb said: ‘We’re being downgraded, all the signs are there. Saving the maternity is vital, but the trade unions are not to be heard, which is disgraceful. They should be informing their members about all the changes and their implications and how they can fight them.

‘All the staff would support a fight.’

• A FORMAL application is being made by the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) to affiliate to the TUC.

The RCM will be the first Royal College to be a member of the TUC. Commenting on the decision, RCM Chief Executive Cathy Warwick said: ‘This is a significant, historical and positive decision by the RCM.’