health workers are biking to downing street as part of the action week, starting today fourty Coventry health service workers will carry their protest against the government's pay policy by bike to London.
They will leave Coventry today, calling en route at Banbury, Oxford, Hillingdon and arrive in Central London midday Friday.
Among the bike's are six tandems. The riders include nurses, ancillary and maintenance wor-
kers as well as professional and technical- staff drawn from Coventry's hospitals.
They will deliver a petition to No. 10 Downing Street and present a bill for £325,000 to Health Minister Norman Fowler.
This is the amount the Coventry District Health Authority would have rto find to meet the government's health service wage formula. It has already overspent on its budget.
"The truth is," says Lloyd Randall, secretary of the NUPE hospitals branch in the city,
"there is not a 6 per cent offer.
It is just 4 per cent and an offer to cannibalise the service to meet the other 2 per cent."
In addition to being divisive. the Tory government tactics will also mean the loss of up to 80
jobs in the city's hospitals.
The bikers will link up with local health service co-ordinating committees on their journey.
They are offerins to join picket lines at hospitals and speak at meetings. But they also hope
that other trade unionists will turn out in force to greet them.
They will be joined in London bv strikers whose seven week action has reduced the central sterile supplies depot to emergency only.
Nurses at the outpatients department oi the Coventry and Warwick Hospital, as well as
maintenance and boilerhouse workers in Walsgrave and other hospitals also plan to impose
sanctions in the coming week.
A meeting in Birmingham ot local health service union co- ordinating committees support-
ed calls from Coventry for the TUC to sharpen up the action on health service pay.
A resolution adopted "calls on the TUC health service committee to support a call for an ultimatum for an all-out strike from September 1 by all TUC health service unions, if an im-
proved offer is not made or if the dispute is not referred to arbitration."
Another resolution urges the TUC not to accept any offer which is not fully funded by central government. To do so, it says, would mean accepting cuts in the service.
There is; also a strong feeling that local co-ordinating committees should have more discretion over implementing accident and emergency cover. The TUC's code of conduct is seen as being so wide as to be ineffective in some areas.
There is a call for a review and a tightening up of the TUC's emergency cover procdures.