Friday, May 19, 2006

London Joint Stewards Committee NHS

Held 14th October 1980


At the meeting held at the Prince Albert Pub,London, N1.

It was noted that Mr. Cart Brecker spoke on the history of the old the previous attempts to establish a NHS stewards committees in London A.L.H.S.C., A.K.A. and CLASH.

Carl made the point that 'CLASH' was built up as a support to the campaigns to save the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson. & Hounslow Hospitals in 1977 'and that as these campaigns came to an end for one reason or another, so did CLASH' as it lost Its main purpose.

Points were raised by Carl on the difficulties of stewards, their Committees, or any other 'Militant/Interested Individual to attend meetings give support to,or get involved.

Carl went on to emphersize the 'systematic victimizations’ which eventually led to dismissal, of popular activists in the London Health Service.

Kate Truscott (Fightback) pointed out the importance of 'other Stewards' and area Committee Trade Union to get to other-Area Stewards' meetings 'to organize Effective', Ms. Truscott spoke about the anti-closure campaigns that are in London, and the importance of 'Mobilizing staff against the closures, and that the Fightback organization has been concerned with - this over the last three years.

Conway Xavier (N.U.P.E/CP.) Great.Ormand St.Hospital. Didn’t agree with Ms. Truscott on last point. He spoke of uncertain it is to ‘call people’ on the phone for support, in order to get organized.'. He agrees with 'Hospital Worker', but said 'not quite sure about setting up a L.J. S.C. on the same basis as C.L.A.S.H. .with much 'success'. Conway spoke of N.U.P.E. Area Committee & St. Benedict’s he said 'If any Shop Stewards. committee is to survive, all stewards must have immediate contact with others for instant support, or it could fall' also 'and to encourage all shop stewards to organize more to get support'.

Chris Rooney (Hospital Worker) spoke of Hospital Worker, how its built, the next issue of Hospital Worker and the National Committee Meeting.

A point was raised about the difficulties of drawing members to take action.

An E.G.A Steward spoke of what the 'ordinary' shop steward dose in his/her time and why it is difficult to 'persuade' them to get organized in 'this type of committee’, also of the important work at home (i.e) Workplace problems etc, and of the feelings members might build up towards their shop stewards for neglecting local problems and members.

In the chair lan Crinson followed on to emphasize the trade-union 'Bureaucracy' and the let-downs, and of why these Committees in the past have failed. He also made the point of the importance of stewards to keep 'local matters' Priority.

Various points were raised out of the latter two' one being about stewards who are blocked and or attacked by both the Trade Union Bureaucracy and their stewards committees.

Items then tabled.

(1) Stewards role at home.

(2) Grass roots membership

Conway Xavier spoke of the basic reason why people join T.U. bodies, he also added most hospitals haven’t got the support for Stewards Committee's from members because of the lack of 'credibilities' of the committee.

Conway voiced his concern over the interference by the socialist workers Party and International Marxist group in the past and present committees and for this committee to be effective they should be got rid of.

The first point was clearly agreeable, but the second point was not (all round) agreedable…..

Opinions were raised out of the last points and also that of a committee 'with practical aims'.

The S.E.R.T.U..C, month of action was tabled, i.e. what’s going, to happen ?also could this committee use the "picket" laws that were 'used at St.Benedicts to make a first step.

Candy Udwin (Fightback/SWP) Pointed out that we as a committee' should look

for 'what we should and could do in "the short and long term basis and how careful we must be on 'how we plan The Committee'.

There followed a gen-discussion on:

1.) Faults with Unions.

2.) Caution on the A.L.S.C.

3.) How strong are we at home, i.e. our Hospital workplaces e.t.c.

Out of the discussion's the feeling all round was that it is Crucial to set up Committee's like this 'in order to 'link-up' with isolated Hospitals, and inperticular, stewards committee's with much weakness.

It was agreed that,

*1. Stewards Committees must have support for the important role they will play in order to 'Slide into politics.

*2.'Area Stewards Committees it is equally important for joint action meetings to fight & to discuss politics.

*3.Stage by stage-from grass roots members to 'all Hospital workers-shop stewards, to mobilize a –fightback against the ' REORGANIZATION of the Health Service.

A proposal was tabled- to agree to set up another meeting with shop stewards and interested parties/individuals' to talk of a plan to go forward to fight for a better Health Service......

It was also agreed that a link-up of just 'ancillary 'workers will cause a split in support/loyalty,and that pulling together the whole Hospital workers 'force or grades e.t.c. is important.

The chair's summing up:

General summing up

1) Also to establish a system of contact.

2) The exchange of information from branch to branch by way of minutes

3) To organize visits to Hospitals from this committee for support on any issue, not just cuts campaigns.


It was agreed to send off information to B.D.C.s and to ask for

donations ..


L.J.S.C. Oct.1980

P.S, The next minutes may not be as detailed....?

23 people attended the meeting


London Alliance of Stewards for Health workers (LASH) established in 1972 primerily around the Ancillay Workers pay dispute. Magazine called ‘Backlash’ called for a one day stoppage on 27th Novemeber 1972

All London Health Workers Alliance (ALHWA) an informal rank and file group

CLASH Combine London

Hospital Worker established at a meeting in Birmingham of forty health activists, but under the broad control of the SWP

London Health Workers Co ordinating Committee established as a rank and file stewards group during the 1988 dispute, by stewards at Royal free Hospital and Maudsley Hospital Steering Committee: Andrew Phillips, Gayle Adams, Camilla Crivello, John Speakman, David Esterson, John Kaufman, Hal Satterthwhite