‘THERE needs to be a national demonstration. British Airways, the Bank of England, and Serco workers, we are all on strike because we have rejected a 1% pay rise.
‘Even the nurses said that they are going on strike soon against 1%,’ Unite member Bright Ephraim told News Line yesterday morning on the picket line outside Whipps Cross Hospital on Day nine of the Serco workers’ two-week strike.
The strike includes Serco workers at four east London hospital sites, Whipps Cross in Walthamstow, The Royal London in Whitechapel, Mile End Hospital and Bart’s. They work as porters, cleaners, kitchen staff and security staff.
Ephraim continued: ‘The 1% pay increase that they are offering us is no good. It is not a pay increase but a pay cut as everything in the shops has gone up by much more than 1%. The rent I have been paying monthly for a single bedroom is so expensive and they are giving us 1%. 1% is rubbish. What am I going to do with 1%? More than half of my pay goes on rent, so I do not see why they should not give us such an increment.
‘Even my phone bill was £73.85 a month. I cannot afford to pay it. Some of the Serco workers at Whipps Cross are still working. They say that they are in Unison. Some of the new Serco workers who are not in a union have gone in. I do not know why Unison does not come out on strike with us.’
Serco worker and Unite member Kenneth Marfo added: ‘The strike is going well because we need support from the local community and every time a car or ambulance pass they beep their horns. Nurses from Whipps, doctors as well, sisters from the wards and patients all come out and stand with us on the picket.
‘Serco is not listening to us. They should listen to us and make our hospital clean. If you do not listen to the staff then the hospital will get messy. Why do they not come forward and ask the staff what they need? Why can’t they make the staff happy and give them what they want so that they can go back and do their jobs. Sometimes the cleaners do not even have chemicals to clean the floor. We need our pay rise and that is why we are here.’
On the picket line at the Royal London Hospital Serco workers had a massive speaker playing music. They shouted: ‘Serco, Serco what you going to do? What you going to do when we come for you?’ It was really lively with the strikers blowing whistles and vuvuzelas with flags and placards.
Unite member Peter Boansi said: ‘There are a few Serco workers who are in Unison who work at the Royal London. Unison did not ballot for strike action. Unison is supposed to get together with Unite and fight for this strike. If we succeed, all workers, Unite and Unison, will benefit.’