Solidarity to Barts Health Trust cleaners: striking back for a pay rise!

5 July 2017
Marching on the picket line at Royal London Hospital: "Justice now!... the workers united will never be defeated!"

Marching on the picket line at Royal London Hospital: “Justice now!… the workers united will never be defeated!”

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The first two days of official strikes by hundreds of cleaners, porters, catering and security workers across Barts Health Trust got off to a rock solid start, with huge picket lines and a vibrant fighting spirit.

The cleaners, having been largely previously unorganised, recently joined the Unite union following an unoffical walk out in April, on the day the cleaning contract was taken over by Serco and they launched an assault on break times and on pay.

The dispute is showing the potential to take on the bosses’ attacks, and is particularly pertinent in laying out how we can take on privatisation of our NHS and the attacks on workers’ conditions and pay that are part and parcel of these private firms’ attempts to profit from our health service.

The strikes are also an inspiring example, at a time when the Tories and mainstream media have continually scapegoated migrant workers to sow division, that show that our society could not run without migrant workers–we are all children of migrants, and migrant workers are a part of our unions and a part of leading the fightback that can win wage rises and defend our services.

Full solidarity to the Barts cleaners! Their fight is everyone’s fight–to defend a safe health service and decent pay for all.

Barts RLH 2


From Willie Howard, Unite organiser:

“The story so far: Since the 1st April, the cleaners, porters, caterers and security of four hospitals at St Barts’ Trust (represented by Unite the Union) have been transferred over to the multinational Serco during the course of a £600m privatisation contract.

Serco’s agenda has seen them seek to cut a third of the porters at Whipps Cross, vastly increase the workload of cleaners across the Trust leading to massive stress while also refusing to pay any raise in line with inflation. In April, Serco attempted to abolish the cleaners’ tea break at the Royal thus leading to a mass spontaneous walkout of 180 cleaners which led to immediate reinstatement of the break.

Workers have now delivered a 99% Yes vote for strike action in Royal London Hospital, St Barts Hospital, Mile End Hospital and Whipps Cross Hospital… They need your support.”


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