7 April 2017
Well over 100 NHS cleaners working in the Barts NHS Trust, walked out into a mass meeting on the evening of Thursday 6 April. This was the day their contract was taken over by private firm Serco, who immediately inflicted an astonishing attack – the removal of breaks and an effective 10 year, year on year, pay cut.
They collectively took their break the next morning, in another effective walkout, with a electric mass meeting of over 80 cleaners. Leading cleaners announced to cheers that Serco had backed down over the threat to remove breaks. But the cleaners, organised by Unite (though many not yet in a union) emphasised the need to be vigilant, and to organise for the coming fight over pay. Unite is moving towards an official ballot for strikes against the pay cut.
A campaign address for messages of support and solidarity is in the making, in the meantime please rush support to email@example.com and we will forward on to leading cleaners and Unite organisers.
The incredible and inspiring action by cleaners has thrown down the gauntlet to private vulture companies seeking to snatch up NHS contracts across the country and impose savage attacks on conditions and pay that will inevitably undermine the quality of care. And their resistance has given a lead to our unions and NHS workers everywhere showing how to stop the attacks. This is a fight about the future of the NHS, and deserves the urgent support of every trade unionist and those who want to defend our NHS.