Solid Support For Serco Strike

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Lively picket of Serco strikers outside the Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel, yesterday
Lively picket of Serco strikers outside the Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel, yesterday

PATIENTS, nurses, doctors and other hospital staff stopped to support the striking Serco workers on their picket line outside the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel yesterday, on day eight of their two week long strike.

Cleaners, catering staff, porters and security staff blew whistles and shouted ‘Low pay – No Way!’

They are out at Bart’s Health NHS Trust’s four hospitals, with picket lines also at Whipps Cross in Walthamstow, and Mile End.

Unite London Eastern region organiser Joao N’Zadi told News Line at the Royal London: ‘We met with Serco on 21 July. They made an offer of 1.5% for people on Agenda for Change. But Serco was taking advantage of the government’s 1% pay cap for the NHS, and other Serco workers were offered the 1% only.

‘So the talks broke down and that is the reason we started this two-week strike. We are considering more strike action.as we haven’t had any new approach from Serco. We’ve organised a march on Thursday with the BA mixed fleet strikers and we will be lobbying the Serco shareholders meeting at Blackfriars then marching to the Civil Aviation Authority on Kingsway. We will ballot again for further strike action at Bart’s Health and are waiting to hear from our legal department.’

Unite member and ward host George Frempong said: ‘I’m doing the work of two people. I have to take orders for food from 47 patients when there are supposed to be two people taking the orders, I also serve the food and clean everywhere. It’s a lot of work, it’s very hard.

‘We need a pay rise and to stop the job cuts. We have to have more people to do the job. Because we work in a hospital, we need quality. We don’t have enough people for the standard you need. The privatisation is no good at all. We should be working for the NHS. If we are sick, we have to call Serco in Birmingham. It’s nonsense.

‘We have to win. Unison have to join us, we have to come together. We should be marching on Unison head office to get them out, because Serco want to divide us, which is wrong. The NHS has to stop using agencies.’