GMB pickets were again on strike and out in force this morning at Ealing Hospital in their seven day strike against poverty pay. The 150 porters and ancillary workers are fighting to get off the minimum hourly wage rate of £6.31 that outsourced NHS employer Medirest is currently paying them. This is 44% below the lowest comparable rate in the Health Service in London of £9.09. Medirest is only prepared to offer an insulting pay increase of 20p per hour. They were furious about reports that scab labour that has been bussed in by agencies are being paid £9 per hour! It seems that money can be found to break a strike but not to properly pay NHS workers. Not only are Medirest paying these workers a pittance they are also not paying sick pay and will only allow the workers to take a maximum of 2 weeks holiday from their 20 day annual leave at any one time. This directly affects those workers who have families on other continents and therefore cannot spend much time with their families because of this limit on their holidays. This is the third set of strike action in this current dispute showing the determination of these workers,
The confirmation last week that the government is continuing its public sector pay freeze, with a 0% rise for NHS workers poses the need for co-ordinated strike action. It would bring in workers such as those at Ealing and many like them who have been privatised and outsourced to sharks like Medirest. This heroic action also shows how such mass joint action would be strongly supported.
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