Saturday, January 02, 2010

Nursing Students Campaign Guildford 1977

A branch of COHSE formed only three months ago (December 1976) in Guildford, Surrey, has initiated a campaign in the area against all public sector cuts, the threat following student redundancies at the Royal Surrey County Hospital and St Luke's Hospitals, Guildford, Surrey.

The branch, with a hundred COHSE members, sprang 'into action in December 1976 when twenty-two out of sixty students qualifying as State registered Nurses (SRNs) and State Enrolled Nurses (SENs) were handed their cards.

A meeting of the Hospital District Management Team (DMT) was picketed and all unions affiliated to the local trades council contacted, together with other COHSE branches.

A big demonstration in Guildford was planned for 26th February 1977 (pictures above). 'We have so far only managed to get jobs for one or two of the nurses,' says Branch Secretary Peter
Midmore. 'And without jobs, the others are inevitably drift
ing away.

'We are working hard to build the anti-cuts campaign now, so that when the next batch qualify we will not be in a position of trying to shut the door after the horse has bolted.'

Response to the campaign has been encouraging, with over twenty unions represented at the first meeting, where a joint steer
ing committee was formed.

Surrey was the first county to slash its education budget early last year, and local trades unionists hope that united opposition to all cuts will result from the new initiative.

COHSE Journal 1977

Click on pictures to enlarge

The COHSE No cuts march was support by a large contingent of nurses from Milford and Hydestile.

Note COHSE Hydestile banner (Hospital sheet), ASTMS (now Unite) Surrey University banner and Surrey University Student Union,

Robin Jago (Theatre technician) was also very active during this period.

Nursing Students at Guildford would also play a key role in the 1982 Pay Campaign and fight to secure transport to the Guildford hospitals. while students at Surrey University circa 2000,


COHSE (now UNISON) was established in Guildford (South West Surrey) in July 1943.

The separate Guildford branch was later amalgamated into the stronger COHSE 1333 Hydestile branch lead by Branch Secretaries Carles Martinez 1977-1973, Les Bennett (1948-1976), and Harry Stock (1943-1947

The union meeting in it's early at the Three Crown's public house (Watney's), Godalming.

A branch of the National Union of County Officers (later Hospital & Welfare Services Union, later COHSE) was already existent
at King George V Sanatorium Hospital prior to the Second World War (Branch Secretaries George A Gill and Mr Gilliam).