Thursday, July 11, 2013

COHSE & NUPE Nurses protest October 1992

COHSE and NUPE nurses delegation to No 10 protesting about limiting nurses pay 
October 1992

Leeds Hospital Laundry Workers Work-In

Leeds Hospital (Laundry) Sit In 

Circa 1981

Community Action No 62

Attempts by health chiefs at St.James Hospital, Leeds , to slash laundry workers wages by 5% and cut bonuses from 33% to 27% have been met with fierce resistance from staff.

Workers are staging a sit-in  at the hospital which is just one of the many which have the £600.000 - £800,000 hacked off the Leeds Health Authority budget this year.

Average take-home pay at the laundry is £45 for the women, who work on average 32 hours per week, and £77 for the men, who average 46 hours a.week.

 Suzi Armitage, COHSE Branch secretary, explained that £160.000 is  to be cut from the laundry service
  over the next two years, as the authority plans to bring 'manning  levels' into line with reduced demand.

 Management are likel.y to introduce a number of proposals to make efficiency savings,.including natural wastage and the threat of bringing in private contractors.

 Laundry services are among the areas of hospital work ear-marked for orivatisation by the government, which issued a circular to health authorities telling them to look at contracting-out such
services far more.

The main point of the threat of  privatisation is to drive wages down to the lowest possible levels as has been happening in council services privatised. If the workers won't accept pay or job cuts from the authority, then contractors are brought in to enforce them.

 But the workers are ready to fight. As the one health union official put it :

 "If we let them get away with this , riding roughshod over agreements, then. they'll be able to get away with anything". 

With further he'alth cuts on the way,and privatisers hungry for proftable contracts, the attacks will no doubt increase. The battle in Leeds could be a vital early one in a long war.