Sunday, October 29, 2006

Canadian Nurses WW1

Canadian Nurses who died WW1

46 of the 3,000 women who served as "nursing sisters" in the Canadian Army Medical Corps lost their lives during the war. Of info available, six were killed or mortally wounded (of which three died in the deliberate bombing of the military hospital in √Čtaples, France); 15 died at sea, with the sinking of the hospital ship, Llandovery Castle; 15 died of disease; and seven died later in Canada


Short, simple and deeply impressive was the ceremony, says The Canadian Nurse, which took place in the wide corridor just outside the Legislative Chamber of the Parliament Buildings, Toronto, when the memorial tablet to the memory of the nurses of the Ontario Military Hospital, Orpington, Kent, England, who gave their lives during the war, was unveiled by Major Margaret C. MacDonald, R.R.C. Matron-in-Chief of the Canadian overseas military forces

Family and many persons of note attended the ceremony. Present for the occasion were the near relatives of the heroines whose names appear on the tablet :

Nursing Sister Mary McKenzie,
formerly of Toronto, who was drowned in the sinking by the enemy of the hospital ship Llandovery Castle;

Nursing Sister S. E. Garbutt,
who went overseas for service in June, 1917(?), and died of cancer the following (20th August 1917);

Nursing Sister M. Lowe,
Of Binscarth, Manitoba, who was killed during the bombing outrages at Etaples in May, 1918 ; (28th May 1918)

Nursing Sister D. H. Baldwin,
who died as a result of wounds received during the enemy raids at. Doulens, France, in May, 1918 ; (30th May 1918)

Nursing Sister M. E. Greene,
who died of double pneumonia, at No. 24 British General Hospital, Etaples, France, in October, 1918. (9th October 1918)

Hon. Dr. H. J. Cody, former Minister of Education, read the memorial service and dedicated the tablet, erected by the matron and nursing sisters of the Orpington (Canadian) Hospital unit.

May 29 1920 British Nursing Journal



Alpaugh. A
Baker. M. E
Baker. M. E
. G. E.
. C.
. E.
Cumming. I.
Dagg. A. St. C.
Donaldson. G.
. C. J.
Dussault. A.
Follette. M. A.
Forneri. A. F.
Fortescue. M. J.
Fraser. M. M.
Frederickson. C.
Gallaher. M. K.
Grant.G. M.
Herman .V. B.
Henshaw. I.
Hunt. M.
Jaggard. J. B.
Jarvis. J.
Jenner. L. M.
Kealy. I. L.
King. J. N.
MacIntosh. R.
MacLeod. M.
McDiarmid .J. M.
McDougall .A.
McEachen. R.
McGinnis. M. G.
McKay. E. V.
McKenzie. M. A.
. R. M.
Mellett. H.
Munro. M. F. E
Roberts. J.
. N. G.
Ross. A. J.
Ross E. G.
Sampson. M. B.
Sare. G. I.
Sparks. E.
Stamers. A. I.
Templeman. J.
Trusdale. A.
Tupper. A. A.


Baldwin. G (30 May 1918) wounds
. L.A (21 February 1918) K/N
Garbutt S. E (20 August 1917) K/N
Green. M (9 October 1918) Disease
Lowe. M (28 May 1918) wounds
MacDonald. K.M. (19 May 1918) wounds
MacPherson. A (30 May 1918) wounds
Pringle. E.L (30 May 1918) wounds
Wake G. M.M (21 May 1918) wounds
Whitely. A (21 April 1918) wounds

For a superb account of nurses in WW1 read "It's a long way to Tipperary " (British & Irish nurses in the Great War) by Yvonne McEwen

Michael Walker

UNISON The Nursing Union - London

Saturday, October 28, 2006

A State Medical Service 1920

A State Medical Service

A booklet by Mr D.T. Jenkins, FFI, FFS and Mr J.A. Newrick of the Association of Approved Societies, 76-78 Swinton Street, Gray's Inn Road, London

called for a State Medical Service in order that

"As a measure to prevent and cure ill health as the National Insurance Acts have failed"

Irish Nurses Union 1920

Irish Nurses Union

Honary Secretary: Miss Carson Rae

President: Miss E. Hazlett (Richmond)
Vice President: Miss Carre

Executive Miss, Huxley, Thornton, O'Flynn, Burkett, Haire, Reeves, Hughes, Keating, Haverly, Rhind, Blackmore, Downie, Bradburne, Crowther, Harrison, Chisholm, Harrison, Chisholm, McKinley, McGinley, Drew and Mrs Manning

Miss E Hazlett
Trained at Richmond, Whitworth and Hardwicke hospital, appointed Assistant Matron in 1912 and appointed Matron Richmond Hospital, Dublin 1918

Later Irish Nurses Organisation

Nurses 8hr Day Dublin - 1920


The Corporation of Dublin, which makes grants to various hospitals in the city, has decided to make such grants conditional upon the establishment of an eight hours’day for nurses.

British Nursing Journal - 15th May 1920

BNA - Banner 1920

April 24, 1920
Royal British Nurses’ Association.
(Incorporated by Royal Charter)


The Banner of the Royal British
Nurses’ Association has now reached the Office from the Royal School of Art Needlework, at which it has been embroidered.

As will be remembered, a small group of the younger members formed themselvesinto a committee on the passage of the
Nurse Registration Bill (1920) and decided to inaugurate a scheme to supply their Association with a Banner as a memento of this victory for the nurses.

They and all the members who have so generously co-operated with them may congratulate themselves upon having supplied their Royal Corporation with a Banner of which it has just reason to be proud and which doubtless will be regarded as one of its most treasured possessions for centuries to come, But particularly do we owe an expression of warm gratitude to Miss Grace An
derson, M.R.B.N.A., who has done practically all the work connected with the banner so far as the R.B.N.A. office is concerned.

The Banner is embroidered most exquisitely on bleu de silk, with the Badge of the Association- in rose colour on cloth of gold. The date of the foundation of the Association, ‘1887,” is inscribed over the Badge, and the motto, “ Steadfast and True,” on a gold scroll beneath it, ‘The Royal Crow in colours appears in the centre of the Badge, and the national flowers-the rose, thistle, shamrock, and leek-support it, beautifully embroidered in sahral colours. Altogether a most lovely Banner for our Royal Corporation of Nurses


The BNA was hostile to the (Royal) College of Nursing and supported the Profesional Union of Trained Nurses

RCN - Dont Join a union


In reply to a communication sent to the Secretary of the College of Nursing, Ltd., asking if it had officially advised members not to join a trade union, the following letter was received :-

My Dear Sir,

In reply to your letter of the 18th ult., I have to say that Sir Arthur Stanley,
in a circular letter written as Chairman of the Council of the College of Nursing, stated that it was, in his opinion, inadvisable for a Nurse who is a member of the College to join a Professional Trade Union.

Similar advice has been given at Headquarters to a Nurse who enquired as to
membership of the by which, no doubt, she meant ' The Poor Law Workers' Trade Union.'

Yours truly,
(Signed) M. S. RUNDLE,
Secretary .

Closed shop - Bermondsey 1920

Advertisement in "The Hospital"
April 24th 1920


Applications are invited for the appointment of two Midwives.
-Salary, £220, rising by annual increments of £10 to £250 per annum.

The persons selected are to provide and wear, when on duty, a nurse’s uniform, to be approved by the Public Health Committee. Candidates are to hold the certificate of the Central Midwives Board, be registered Midwives, and will be required to belong toa Trade Union.

The most famous closed shop was at Willsden, Brent, London after WWII

The London Ambulance Service had a closed shop until the early 1980's

Notice from Deptford, London, 1933

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Socialist Medical Association estb:1930

The Socialist Medical Association (now Socialist Health Association) can trace its roots back to 1912 when the State Medical Services Association was established by a Dr Benjamin Moore of Liverpool.

The origins of the Socialist Medical Association (SMA) lay in the meeting in the summer 1930 between Dr Charles Brook and Dr Ewald Fabian, Secretary of a German organisation of socialist doctors, who commented on the lack of a similar organisation in Britain, following the demise of the State Medical Service Association.

In response Brook convened a meeting in London on 21 September 1930 at the National Labour Club which resulted in the formation of the SMA, with Brook as Secretary and Dr Somerville Hastings, Labour MP for Reading, as the first President.

A constitution was agreed in November 1930, incorporating the basic aims of a socialised medical service,

To work for a Socialised Medical Service both preventive and curative, free and open to all

To secure for the people the highest possible standard of health

To disseminate the principles of socialism within the medical and allied service

The Socialist Medical Association also committed itself to the dissemination of socialism within the medical profession and the support of `medical Members of Parliament'. The SMA was open to all doctors and members of allied professions, such as dentists, nurses and pharmacists, who were socialists and subscribed to its aims

COHSE had close links with the Socialist Medical Association and Dr Charles Brook (and his wife Iris Brook a nurse) was a NUCO and COHSE member and activist

Monday, October 23, 2006

Christine Wilde UNISON President

Christine Wilde,Midwife Elected UNISON President 2005-2006

Christine Wilde, a midwife, has been elected president of UNISON by the union’s ruling National Executive Council (NEC). This is the highest lay position in the country’s largest and fastest growing union. Christine has been a longstanding member of UNISON since its creation in 1993. She joined founder union COHSE (Confederation Of Health Service Employees) in 1976.
Christine has held several positions in the union including COHSE branch secretary, chair of the Isle of Wight healthcare trust branch and UNISON vice president. In 1988 Christine was the first woman to become a member of COHSE’s NEC. Christine has also been a member of the Labour Party NEC.
Christine was born and raised in Blackburn, Lancashire. She was educated at Blakely Moore School for girls and went on to train as a midwife at Queens Park hospital, Blackburn. Christine now works and lives in the Isle of Wight, as a midwife. She has two grown up sons, Jason and Greg and two grandsons, Connor, 5, and Craig, 2.

Christine is dedicated to midwifery. She said:“I love to help people; it’s such a rewarding job. I enjoy working with women and the job really stimulates me.”As President, Christine has two main aims, one in the UK and one overseas. In the UK she wants to improve working conditions for public service workers. And overseas she wants to establish a shelter for orphaned children who have lost their parents or carer because of HIV/AIDS.Commenting on her future plans in UNISON Christine said:“I want UNISON to grow physically, I want to make working policies with other unions and most of all I want to establish a shelter for children who have lost everything, children that have been abused or abandoned because of ignorance and power.”

Dave Prentis, General Secretary of UNISON said:‘I am pleased to welcome Christine as the new president of UNISON and I look forward to working with her on the future direction of the union.’

Friday, October 20, 2006

Bob Vickerstaff – COHSE President

Bob Vickerstaff – COHSE President

Bob Vickerstaff's death on 2nd June 1976— just three weeks before the start of COHSE's 1976 Delegate Conference, Brighton — was a tragic blow to the union and a shock to us all.

For many.
Bob's name had become synonymous with COHSE Conferences —
he had chaired five since his election as National President at the 1965 Aberdeen Conference, and had been a regular attender at pre-1965 conferences, both as an NEC member and as an ordinary branch delegate.

Stalwart trades unionist Robert William Vickerstaff had been a trades unionist since the age of fourteen.

He was born in Spennymoor, County Durham, the sixth of eight children and brought up locally, moving with his family to the village of Tinsdale at the age of eleven.

Three years later, the year of the General Strike, he followed his father down the pit and was an active member of the miners union. Twice in the next eight years he organised stoppages in protest at the low pay and working conditions.

But, by 1934, he had had enough and decided to train as a student nurse, qualifying as a Registered Mental Nurse in 1938. The war years were spent With the Royal Air Force medical service in Iceland and the Far East. Returning to the new National Health Service for which he had campaigned, he became a charge nurse, and at the time of his death had been Re-habilitation Officer at St Nicholas Hospital in Gosforth, Newcastle-upon-Tyne for many years. At St Nicholas, he organised and maintained a thriving industrial therapy and rehabilitation centre for psychiatric patients.

Bob's connections with COHSE date back many years — to the year he first joined the Service (1934) when he joined the MHIWU (the Mental Health and Institutional Workers Union, which in 1946 merged with the Hospitals and. Welfare Services Union (HWSU) to form COHSE). He became a COHSE branch secretary shortly after Amalgamation.

Active in. the Northern Regional Council of the union. Bob was first elected to the National Executive Committee in 1958. He was chairman of the influential Finance and Organisation Committee, serving brilliantly in that capacity until, following the retirement of Ron Farmer, he was elected National President by a clear majority on the first ballot at the 1965 Aberdeen Conference.

He was constantly re-elected at successive COHSE Conferences and at the time of his death he was serving his final term of office, having been re-elected at the 1975 Blackpool Conference where he gained a record 75.1 per cent of the total votes cast. He was due to retire in two years' time. Bob was a member of the National Staff Committee for Nurses and Midwives, of the Nurses and Midwives Whitley Council and an Industrial Tribunal member. Throughout his Presidency Bob worked ardently with his NEC colleagues, the offices and the branches to ensure the development of the union. His Presidency saw not only a threefold increase in membership (from 64,000 to a current 185,000), but also an expansion in the membership base— from the psychiatric field to the entire National Health Service, one of his personal ambitions.

He was a staunch campaigner for increased officer staffing levels in the regions
last year saw the completion of the first phase of COHSE's expansion progamme in terms of full-time officers in the field. He was a firm believer in the 'COHSE as the one union for all Health Service staffs' concept, and lived to see the union achieve the influence and stature commensurate to its size and membership. More generally, he was a persistent advocate of increased trade union education facilities, believing that this was the key to all progress in the movement.

In recent months, he was concerned most that the union should be fully involved in discussions about any cuts in the Health and Social Services, and was not prepared to be diverted over less important issues such as isolated industrial action over pay-beds.

A kind, sincere man

Bob Vickerstaff's life was marked by a dedication to the union, and he once turned down a very good career opportunity to remain President. Even though he was in great pain during the last days of his life, his concern for the welfare of COHSE and its members never wavered. Although a lay officer, he played a considerable part in the union. He was a tough and determined man, a no-nonsense chairman, but most of all, a kind, sincere man and a leader of great stature.

The new President, Eric Wilson's tribute to Bob in his Presidential Address to this year's Conference admirably sums up Bob's devotion to COHSE and stature in the history of the union: 'He served this union well — what better epitaph can a man have?'

Our deepest sympathies go out to his wife Gloria and daughter Ann in this trying time and in their, and our, great loss.

Tribute by Albert Spanswick,

General Secretary

COHSE Journal July 1976

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Terry Mallinson - COHSE National Officer

Terry Mallinson - COHSE National Officer

It is with great regret that COHSE announces the sudden death of Terry
Mallinson, National Officer who died on
Sunday 19 June 1983 following a
heart attack. just two days after COHSE Conference.

negotiator for ancillary and ambulance staffs, was 49 years old and had been
National Officer since 1 969.
In October he would have completed 21 years' service as a full-time officer.

Terry's death is a deep shock and a great loss both to the Confederation and
the whole trade union movement,' General Secretary David Williams said in
'For those of us who knew him, his great love of life and tremendous
enthusiasm and energy for whatever task lay ahead, it is all the more tragic.

Terry was a trade unionist of the old school and a tough and skilled negotiator
who made the fight against low pay in the National Health Service his own personal crusade. As a passionate champion of the NHS and welfare state, he cared deeply for the most vulnerable in society and never lost touch with the people he was fighting for.'

Terry was Chairman of both the Ancillary Staffs Council and the Ambulancemen's Council and also the COHSE officer responsible for the National Joint Council for Local Authority Manual Workers. He was also a member of the National Staffs Committee for Accommodation, Catering and Other Support Services and of the National Staffs Committee for Ambulance Staffs and one of the earliest pioneers for professional.

As a member of the TUC Health Services Committee, he played an important part in last year's NHS pay dispute; he was a member of East Surrey
Health Authority.

Terry was a trained psychiatric and general nurse and former nurse Gold
Medallist at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary before talking up his full-time post with the union as Regional Secretary for his native
Yorkshire region in 1962. He was a COHSE member for nearly thirty years.

Deeply proud of his nurse training, Terry retained his interest and concern in the
development of psychiatric services throughout his union career, acting as
secretary to the COHSE working parties which produced the highly acclaimed
reports the Management of Violent Patients and on NHS Secure Treatment

Units. At the time of his death he was secretary to the COHSE working party on
the Future of Psychiatric Services.

He was also immensely proud of his Yorkshire upbringing where, as a member
of a mining family, he started his working life down in the pits as an electrician.

A devoted family man, he leaves behind him his wife Dorothy and sons Nicolas and Jerome. It is to them that Terry's many friends and colleagues in COHSE extend their deepest sympathy and thoughts.

COHSE Journal July 1983

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Scotland and the NAWU

The year 1918 saw a great development of the National Asylum Workers Union (NAWU) in Scotland . The first local NAWU branch in that country was formed at Hartwood Asylum, Lanarkshire, in March 1918, with Thomas Prentice as Branch Secretary.

The Union had, had a number of members at Kingseat Asylum, Aberdeenshire, in the Central (Head Office) Branch for many months (The union had a small membership in Aberdeen and Perth prior to WW1) but to Hartwood fell the distinction of starting on their own branch.

Montrose (John Nicholl NAWU Branch Secretary) and Kingseat (Gutherie D Connon NAWU Branch Secretary) speedily followed their example, and by the middle of the year there were eight or nine Scottish branches in full swing.

The last few months of 1918 and the early ones of the following year witnessed a marked development of the Union.

Following a request for official recognition by Hartwood, a conference of Scottish Asylum Authorities was held in Glasgow,on November 5th, 1918, at which seventeen (out of twenty) district asylums, and five (out of seven) Royal Asylums were represented.

During the discussion it was apparent that the district asylums were about evenly divided on the question of recognition of the (NAWU) Union, while of the Royal Asylums, one was in favour and three against recognition. There was general agreement in favour of a Conciliation Board representative of asylum authorities and asylum workers which could deal with all matters affecting Scottish Asylum Service. Ultimately an advisory committee was appointed to deal with the whole

This Committee met in Glasgow, on December 10th, and decided by twelve votes to six against the recommendation of granting official recognition to the N.A.W.U. They also made suggestions for the establishment of a Conciliation Board for Scotland on which the Union could not be officially represented.

On December 20th, 1918, a conference of delegates from the Scottish Branches of the Union was held in Glasgow, sixteen branches being represented. After addresses by Mr. Edward Edmondson, J.P, NAWU President, and Mr. Herbert Shaw, NAWU Acting Secretary, the following resolutions were unanimously agreed to :—

" That this meeting pledges itself to reject and to oppose any proposal for a Board of Conciliation between the Scottish Asylum Authorities and the Asylum Staffs until official recognition is conceded to the National Asylum Workers' Union and the Union is allowed full representation on such Conciliation Board.

" That a time limit of one calendar month be attached to the application for official recognition, failing the granting of which, steps be taken to declare a strike."

A copy of these resolutions together with the Union's national programme was forwarded to the Scottish Asylum Authorities on January 10th, 1919.


On January 31st, 1919, the Scottish Asylum Authorities held another conference, at the Central Station Hotel, Glasgow, on the question of recognition, at which Officials of the N.A.W.U. attended by invitation. Mr. Edmondson pointed out the serious position which would arise if recognition were refused. They desired, if they possibly could, to work harmoniously with the whole of the authorities throughout Great Britain and that harmony would be impossible if they were refused the right to speak on behalf of their members. He asked the meeting not to consider the point that it was an English Union. Their General Secretary was as much a Scotsman as any gentleman present; their General Treasurer was a Scotsman, and they had many hundreds of members who were Scotsmen or Scotswomen.

Mr. Shaw informed the meeting that during the last six months 1,200 members from nineteen out of the twenty-seven asylums in Scotland had joined the Union. After the Union Officials had retired the meeting discussed the matter at length.

A motion by Mr. Sharp, of Glasgow, " That this Conference recommends its Constituent Boards to recognise the Union," was lost by eight votes to ten who voted for an amendment that members should report to their individual Boards and get instructions.

A second conference of the Scottish Branches of the Union was held on February 7 to consider the position arising out of the expiration of the month's ultimatum of January 10. A plan of action was agreed upon, but what would undoubtedly have been a very serious situation was averted at the eleventh hour by the receipt of a message from the Acting General Secretary of the Union urging the members to refrain from taking the contemplated drastic action in view of the unanimous decision of the London Conference of Asylum Authorities of Great Britain to press forward the early establishment of an Industrial Council for the whole asylum service.

The NAWU faced fierce competition from the Municiple Employees Association (MEA) now GMB in Glasgow Asylums but by January 1919 the NAWU claimed to represent half of the 2,500 asylum workers in Scotland.

However, by September 1923 only five authorities remained on the employers side of the Scottish Joint Consulative Committee, (Dudee, Fife, Govan, Lanark and Kirklands) by 1924 it had disbanded.

In 1928 the NAWU in Scotland appointed a temporary "Lady organiser" to go around the asylums recruiting. The women appointed was Mrs Beaton, This was probably Kate Beaton, Glasgow City Labour councillor and well known union organiser for the Federation of Women Workers (along with Mary Barbour).

Mrs (Kate) Beaton was therefore COHSE's first woman paid official


Delegates to the NAWU conference of 28th September 1918 at Chandos Hall, The Strand, London included
Mr William Fraser representing Montrose, Morningside and Kirklands Asylums NAWU branches
Hartwood failed to send a delegate as Kingseat, and Woodilee

NAWU Branch Secretaries June 1920

ABBEY—Miss C. McDonald, 1, Craw Boad, Paisley.
ABERDEEN—Mr. W. Middleton, Royal Asylum, Aberdeen.
BANGOUR.—Mr. J. L. Wakelin. 41, Dechmont, West Lothian, Scotland.
BANFF—Mr. J. Gardiner, Ladysbridge Asylum, by Banff.
CUPAR—Mr. Thomas Melrose, The Retreat, Cupar. Fife.
DYKEBAR—Mr. Donald MacIver. The Cottages, Dykebar, Paisley.
DUNDEE—Mr. David Mackenzie, 9, Westgreen Cottages. Liff.
ELGIN- Mr. James George. District Asylum. Elgin, N.B.
GARTLOCH—Mr. P. J. Clark. Mid Cottage. Gartloch, Gartloch.
GREENOCK—Mr. William Cameron, 7. Smithson Cottages, Greenock.
HARTWOOD.—Mr. Thomas Prentice, The Asylum, Hartwood. Lanark.
HAWKHEAD—Mr. Malcolm McCormick. Hawkhead Asylum, Crookston, Glasgow.
INVERNESS.—Mr John McCrum, Asylum Cottage, Inverness.
KIRKLANDS—Mr. James Graham, 5, Kirklands Cottages, Bothwell.
KINGSEAT—Mr Gutherie D Connon, Cockcairns,Kingseat. Newmachar
LARBERT- Mr Charles Ritchie, Inches Cottages. Larbert,Sterlingshire
MELROSE- Mr John Fox, Asylum Cottages. Melrose. Scotland.
MIDLOTHIAN AND PEEBLES—Mr. M. Byrne,Rosslynee, Rosslyn Castle, Edinburgh.
MONTROSE—Mr. John Nicoll, Royal Asylum,Asylum Cottages,Montrose
MORNINGSIDE—Mr. J. Davidson. 44. Craighouse Gardens, Edinburgh
RICCARTSBAR—Mr. D. Campbell, District Asylum. Riccartsbar, Paisley
STONEYETTS—Mr. George Dickson, Stoneyetts Cottages, Chryston.Glasgow.
WOODILEE-Mr. H. MacDonald, 4, Loch Boad. Kirkintilloch, Dumbartonshirc.

First COHSE Branch in Northern Ireland 1958

First COHSE Branch in Northern Ireland 1958

Armagh Shows the Way


By Miss Katherine. M. Daly, COHSE Organiser

THE enthusiasm of nurses in Northern Ireland is something at which I am still marveling.

Their spontaneous movement to join the Confederation (COHSE) resulted in my first visit to Northern Ireland, where my services were requested, not as is usually the case, to persuade hospital staff to become members, but to welcome a large group of nurses into membership. These nurses were aware of our efforts to improve their salaries and conditions through the Nurses and Midwives Council and were concerned that they were taking everything and giving nothing.

Nearly 100 nurses attended my first meeting in Armagh, and I was impressed that the questions were mainly on general principles and not on personal issues. At this meeting the St. Luke's Branch was established, and it was clearly indicated that the nurses in Armagh will not be content to have only one branch.

It would be wrong to suggest that this movement is confined to Armagh. Within an hour of landing at Belfast my badge was recognised by a doctor who, on being told I was an organiser, asked me to go with him to a general hospital where, he said, " The nurses have been looking for the Confederation for a long time." A number of Belfast nurses will know that I accepted this offer and anticipate visiting Belfast again in the near future to establish at least one branch there.

The aim of the Armagh Branch is to build up a membership of 4,000 nurses in Northern Ireland. Whether they have set themselves an impossible task remains to be seen but, if there are as many nurses in Northern Ireland, I am convinced we will be welcoming them into membership in the not too distant future, for in Armagh we have a group of people who have recognised that unity is strength and that as every nurse needs the Confederation, so does the Confederation need the support of every nurse.

Good luck Armagh !

COHSE Health Services Journal July 1958
Confederation of Health Service Employees (COHSE)

Monday, October 16, 2006

Who was the first nurse MP Member of Parliament ?

Who was the first nurse MP ?
The title of first nurse elected to parliament is a hotly disputed one….

Some have argued that Alice Mahon a NUPE nursing auxillary (Labour – Halifax) elected in 1987 was first, others Laura Moffat COHSE Registered nurse (Labour –Crawley) elected in 1997. Others Anne (Picking) Moffat a COHSE/UNISON registered nurse elected for Labour at East Lothian in 2001, or Ann Keen nursing tutor and NUPE/CDNA member for Labour at Brentford & Isleworth,

In 2005 Jim Devine a former COHSE registered nurse and UNISON Head of Health, Scotland was elected for Livingstone along with Tory, Ann Milton, RCN steward elected at Guildford.

But few know that a registered nurse was actually elected as long ago as 1958
Mrs Mary McAlister MP
Elected Member of Parliament for Kelvingrove, Glasgow, Scotland in a by-election in March 1958 but lost the seat in 1959.

Mary was born Mary Agnes McMackin in Rathmullan, Donegal, Ireland.Educated at a Franciscan Convent in Glasgow. From 1923 to 1926, she trained as a fever nurse at the Knightswood Hospital in Glasgow. She married in 1927 and had four children. Mary McAlister was elected as a Labour Councillor for Glasgow City Council (1945-1958), where she was Chairman of the Health and Welfare Committee . Member of Western Regional Hospital Board, appointed a JP in 1947. Awarded a CBE in 1967 and died in 1976.

Michael Walker

Friday, October 13, 2006



The history of the NAWU has been the history of all trade unions. We have suffered greatly, and we have greatly gained.

Persecution has failed to stop the march of progress, and has helped the cause it sought to suppress; but the Asylum Authorities have an unenviable record of victimization even in trade union annals.

Look at this black list, you new members, and see how your right of combination has been gained, and at what cost:

Lancaster Asylum

Wakefield Asylum

Banstead Asylum

Cardiff Asylum (2)

Dorchester Asylum (4)

Fareham Asylum

Newport Asylum (2)

Bootham Asylum Park

Maidstone Asylum

Warlingham Asylum (2)

Earlswood Asylum

Norfolk Asylum

All these cases of victimization involved loss of employment, and the wasting of service ranging from one to twenty years.

Two of these men, Messrs Mumford and Burton, through inability to secure employment, are at the present moment reduced to the direst poverty, and if any member of the union would like to assist in providing them of the means of keeping a roof over their heads during the coming Christmas, we shall be pleased to hear from them.

Fortunately, all these sacrifices have not been in vain. The conditions of service at most of the Asylums where we have established strong branches are considerably improved, and we believe all branches have succeeded in gaing some concessions, which however small, have well repaid the small subscription paid to the union.

Yes from “Cold meat of some sort” at Devizes Asylum, to a £7 and £5 a year rise all round to nurses and Attendants in the West Riding Asylums.

NAWU Magazine December 1913

Portrane Asylum, Ireland staff in 1913 were forced to sign, on pain of dismissal, a document declaring that they were not members of the NAWU.

Early Recognition of the NAWU

NAWU Recognition

In December 1913 it was reported in the National Asylum Workers Union (NAWU) Magazine that in the three years since formation the following insitutions had agreed to official recognition of the NAWU

Cardiff Asylum
Durham Asylum
London County Council
Porstmouth Asylum

Thursday, October 12, 2006

New COHSE logo 1972

That New COHSE Logo (interlocking H's)

by Ted Blackshaw
February 1972

This month sees the first issue of the re-styled COHSE “Health Services journal”. It has been re-designed to provide the Confederation with a readily identifiable and unifying image. This new look will also affect all printed material from letterheads to posters, subscription cards to bulletins.

A complete, visually satisfying theme has been needed for some time, especially for stationary, as the superseded material has become out-moded and no longer reflects COHSE has become or the technically sophisticated environment in which COHSE It is employed.

It is important to the Confederation, as in any business, that outsiders should think well of it. Since it is frequently by way of published material that others come in contact with an organisation and form first opinions of it, those concerned should be -confident that it will be an effective; if silent representative.

You will see in the illustrations on this page that, for identification purposes the design carries two principal units, 1. The Title, and 2. The Symbol.

First, the title or more specifically the style of title: It is rarely an easy job for a designer to choose just the right typeface or letter style for a definite purpose without a good deal of trial and rejection of hundreds of possible alternatives.

In this case one was needed that would, primarily, be extremely legible and give an individual character to the title. The typeface chosen satisfies both these requirements with the added bonus of being modern in appearance without losing dignity.

Second, the symbol: It is usual in the design of symbols to utilise some object which is so significant that it can represent the industry involved. For example, a gear wheel could represent engineering, a lorry might signify transport.

The working environment of COHSE members offers no single object which satisfies this requirement. However, of existing symbols there arc the cross and the letter H, both used for road signs and readily acceptable to anyone as meaning Hospital. The letter H is also the initial letler of the word Health and appears in the title of the Confederation. This, therefore, provided an apt starting point for the de-sign of the new symbol.

One more requirement of the design was. necessary, that of representing COHSE as a trade union.

This has been achieved by locking together four H's suggesting that the strength of the organisation lies in the unity of its members. The diagrams on this page show clearly the H members and how they fit together.

The third component of the new identity appears on the cover of this journal – the colour. Generally, choosing colour and pulling it to work is essentially personal and cannot be expected to please everyone.

Yet, some basic principles and logic have been employed in the choice. To avoid the more obvious colours, pillar box red, sky blue or leaf green, a colour with a degree of subtlety was found which sets it aside from those normally used in printed matter of this nature.

To some, the idea of change is disturbing and others might feel that the old familiar things are adequate, but, the boost to morale and sense of progress that a change of this kind generates proves it worthwhile.



Interlocking H's

Used on the journal and head office stationary but never a popular choice and COHSE soon returned to the rose logo and later adding COHSE into the logo

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Andy Andrews - COHSE/International Brigade

Spanish Civil War Veteran & COHSE Branch Secretary to address Tolpuddle Rally 2006

Howard "Andy" Andrews, 99 years old, who served for two years as a front-line medical worker with the International Brigades during the Spanish Civil War, will address the Tolpuddle Martyrs Rally on July 16th.

Dave Chapple, member of the South West TUC Executive and President of Bridgwater Trades Union Council writes this tribute to him:

Howard Andrews was born in Kilburn, North West London, in February 1907. He joined the Royal Army Medical Corps at 16 and in 1924 was posted to Quetta, Baluchistan, British India. He never forgot the poorest Indian women of Bombay-some of them with babies on their backs- loading coal onto the steamships, and when he left the army in 1931, he immediately addressed street meetings back in Kilburn, telling people about the real British Empire. In the year of the General Strike, 1926, Andy was posted with an Indian regiment to Shanghai, to protect British "interests" there, during the massacres of Chinese communists and trades unionists by Chaing-Kai Sheck's right-wing Nationalist troops.

In North London in the early 1930's, Andy joined the Independent Labour Party and then the Communist Party. He was present when marches against both mass unemployment and Mosle's Blackshirts were viciously attacked by the police- on one occasion, during a Mosley rally at Earl's Court , Andy was thrown down flights of stairs and beaten up in full view of the police, who stood by and smiled.

In August 1936, months before the International Brigades were formed, Andy rode to Spain in an Ambulance donated by the Spanish Medical Aid Committee. He stayed in Spain as a front-line hospital worker for over two years, attached to both British and other International Brigades, and working with medics like Tudor Hart and Sinclair-Loutit.

The work was hard, tiring, and dangerous. Andy served at field hospitals during some of the toughest battles of the war, including Teruel and the Ebro. When the final great battle of the war, the Ebro, was lost, Andy and other nurses had to be ordered by a senior officer to retreat back across the river. On more than one occasion, hospitals Andy worked in were attacked by airplane or shell-fire, and he still remembers diving behind a wall to escape an Italian plane's machine gun bullets and hand-grenades.

In 1939 Andy rejoined the army and was sent to France in the Royal Artillery, being lucky enough to escape with his life at Dunkirk when German planes were straffing the beaches.

Always a trades unionist, when Andy moved to Taunton in 1955 he established a Branch of COHSE at Taunton hospital, and was Branch Secretary and Taunton Trades Council delegate until he retired at the age of 65 in 1972.

In 2006 he has joined the Taunton Peace Group, rejoined the Communist Party, and is very active on the streets of Taunton, handing out leaflets protesting against the renewal of Trident nuclear missiles.


Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Bob Quick

Bob (Robert) Quick

Appointed Regional Officer at the age of 19 in early 1975, cadet nurse at Clatterbridge General hospital, set about founding a branch of COHSE at the hospital. Undertook his general nurse training in 1973. Very active in the Nurses Pay campaign in 1974 (Co-ordinating Committee)

His father was COHSE Branch Secretary at West Cheshire branch.

Appointed Regional Officer in the North West, Labour Councillor in Liverpool during the days of Militant (While progessive, certainly not a supporter).

later COHSE Regional Secretary Yorkshire & Humberside (based in Sheffield). Very active in early trade union/COHSE support for Cuba and in particular the Cuban health union, SNTS.

The youngest ever COHSE Regional Officer

Dr Cyril Taylor - Liverpool COHSE

Dr Cyril Taylor

Taylor was born in 1921 in New Brighton, Liverpool to Orthodox Jewish parents. His grandfather had fled the pogroms of Eastern Europe to settle in Merseyside. The families name changing from Zadesky to Taylor (Cyril’s father occupation)

In his Youth Cyril was active in the Jewish (Zionist) Youth Movement, attending Zionist habonim camps but soon developed into a socialist. As a sixth former at Wallasey Grammar school he heard a talk about the Spanish civil war and this event had a major impact on his political beliefs. After school he trained as a medical student at Liverpool University, graduating in 1943 and began work at Alder Hey 1946-1948 later becoming a R. A.M.A.C. Major Commander at the British Hospital Khartoum then returning to Walton hospital.

He was part of a Socialist Medical Association delegation in 1946 that meet Bevan to urge him not to back down to the BMA opposition to the creation of a National Health Service. Taylor was a pioneer of Health Centres and remained active in the Socialist Medical (Health) Association all his life becoming its President.

After the war he was called up for national service and became a major in the Army which included a period in charge of the British hospital in Khartoum. However on his return he faced victimization in several jobs, including being sacked in 1949 as the Medical officer of the Liverpool Shipping Federation because he was a Communist. So in 1950 he set up his own medical practice at Sefton Drive.

He became active in the Confederation of Health Service Employees (COHSE) founding the Walton Hospital branch of COHSE and becoming it's branch secretary, active in the COHSE Medical Guild. COHSE repaid him by censuring him for referring to his COHSE membership in a Communist Party Liverpool city election address. His house become an open house for Chilean political refugees after the 1973 coup.
The costumes, props and scenery of Liverpool Unity theatre were stored in the house and the garden used for rehearsals. Norah Rushton was a close friend

Cyril left the Communist Party over Hungary invasion and was elected a Labour Councillor for Granby ward from 1965 -1980 and Chair of social services. In 1977 he moved into the purposes built Princes Park health centre in Toxteth, Liverpool. He would joke “I’m Cyril from the Wirral”. Cyril Taylor died in 2000 aged 79

Michael Walker

COHSE badge

COHSE London Region 1990

Bernard Morgan 1915-


Bernard was born on the 25th September 1915 at 63 St John's Wood Road, London. the first of two sons the other being Edwin Charles Morgan.

His father was George Herbert Morgan a Londoner who started his employment with the Metropolitan Railway (underground) as a booking clerk. Bernard's father worked his way up through the ranks to become an Accountant for the Metropolitan Railway, he was also a very staunch member of the Railway Clerks Association (now the Transport Salaried Staff Association TSSA) Ladbroke Grove branch, his father was also a life long member of the Labour Party.

Given Bernard's father's occupation it is maybe not surprising that his father meet his mother Ada Mary Charles at a railway booking office. Bernard's mother was originally from Oakington, Cambridgeshire, but moved to London to become a Midwife at Queen Charlotte's Hospital, Edgware Road.

Bernard was born at 63 St Johns Wood Road, opposite Lords Cricket Club, however the house was bombed by Zeppelins during World War one.

Bernard left school at approx 17 and a half to 18, and like his father started work for the Metropolitan Railway as a Railway Clerk, but when the London Passenger Transport Board took over the running of the Underground Bernard was made redundant, But, he was able to get a job back with the Underground railway service as a relief booking clerk, a job he did not enjoy Bernard states " I didn't like it, I was a bit of a snap head".

Much to his fathers regret Bernard left his relief clerks post and sought a job working in the accountants department of the aeroplane makers De Haviland at the companies aircraft factory at Burntock, Edgware, North London in the days when Edgware was a major airport, during this period of the 1930s Bernard became a steward for the clerical section of the Amalgamated Engineering Union (now AEEU) and he was the unions first clerical steward in the factory.

De Haviland was a very well union organised factory , Bernard recalls "when the convenor rang the bell everyone shut down their machines and moved to the agreed assembly point"

Latter Bernard was victimised and sacked by De Haviland which lead to a strike at the factory, because of the anti strike legislation at this time, the strike was refereed to as "unpaid leave" the strike lasted a couple of weeks, meanwhile the AEU paid Bernard victimisation pay and also found himself blacklisted by all Aircraft companies. The AEU however managed to "manoeuvre"Bernard into a job as a shop fitter, a job for which he was supposed to have experience and qualifications and of which he had non, But due to the efforts of the AEU he began employment as a shop fitter for Buck & Hickman.

But within a few weeks of starting his employment he was called up as a conscript, the Second world War had caught up with Bernard., he was sent to Bradbury Barracks, Hereford with the North Staffordshire Royal Artillery, as a ac ac, searchlight, gunner on the British mainland.

It was Bernard's wish to join the Royal Medical Corps, however his Commanding Officer stated clearly to Bernard that "once your in the Royal Artillery your always in the Royal Artillery"and pointed out that as a self contained unit he could do a similar job in the Royal Artillery.

Bernard then attended a Medic course, becoming a qualified Medic & Stretcher bearer come Chiropodist.

His training came to the fore when on D Day plus one he and his colleagues were collected from Brighton and taken to Southampton were they boarded boats for France as support to the American 6th Air force ground forces at Arananches and Normandy.

Bernard says the fighting "made my hair stand on end" but as they moved forward Bernard was wounded by a bomb blast, he recouped in an American Field Hospital for three weeks, after which he rejoined the Medics and ended up at the end of the war in Grossilseda, Germany.

He was then posted to No 6 General Hospital in Hanover where he worked in a VD Clinic serving mainly American service men until he was de mobbed in early 1947. On his return to Britain he found it hard to get a job, so he returned to Germany to serve in the British Control Commission which Bernard states "worked to get Germany back on its feet" his job was secretary to two top British industrialists who were involved in establishing the first Hanover Industrial Fair on which "a fabulous amount of money was spent".

In 1951 he returned to Britain where he realised he "had to start again" to rebuild his life. So in 1952 he embarked upon a career in nursing, initially as a Student Register Mental Nurse at Tooting Bec Hospital, South London, he lived locally in digs, he joined COHSE almost immediately after starting his training and within a few months had become a steward and within eight months Bernard states he was Branch Secretary, However this was probably not until 1954, Bernard went to his first COHSE national Conference in 1952. He took over the Branch Secretaryship from Michael O'Reilly (known as Sir Michael) who was considered a bit of a live wire.

Bernard is one of the longest serving Branch secretary's of COHSE have held the post of Branch secretary from 1954 until 1993

The Tooting Bec branch of the National Asylum Workers Union a forerunner of COHSE was established in April 1913 but seems to have collapsed during the First World war being re established in 1918.

Bernard became a Staff Nurse, then Charge Nurse and the assistant Matron, Senior Nursing Officer, then he opted to become head of the Industrial Therapy Unit at Tooting Bec Hospital.

Bernard states that the most important resolution he ever moved at a COHSE conference was a resolution calling upon the union to re enter the TUC after we had been expelled for complying with Conservative anti union registration legislation in the early 1970's. To move resolution 13 at the 1972 conference Bernard had to leave his sick bed, on his first attempt he was un successful Bernard believes however that the resolution was carried, he states "I was so ill, I should have called for a card vote, i'm certain it was carried "the next conference he was more successful".

Bernard blames the General Secretary Lynch and the President Vickerstaffe for the debacle and expulsion from the TUC, which was probably one of the worst episodes in COHSE's history. Bernard in the Journal in September 1973 now an NEC member stated correctly that "We have suffered the greatest ignominy and disgrace known to a trade union" he went on to call say "No organisation can be changed from without, only from within so for goodness sake, get your branch to express a view".

The group leading the campaign to re affiliate to the TUC was Bernard, Dan Moriarty (Region 6 NEC St Bernard's Branch Secretary)

Sid Ambler (future President) of Sid Ambler Bernard states he was "left wing in those days". Bernard was an NEC member of COHSE for 15 years representing Regions 6, 13 and 8 as Region's were re organised.

"I have always considered myself on the left" states Bernard who was an early member of Group 81 (COHSE's Broad Left established in 1981)

With regard to the Labour Party of which he has been a life long member, Bernard stated he joined the Labour Party as a member of the Labour League of Youth aged 15, he was a founder member of the Paddington League of Youth which meet at the Co-op Hall, Harrow Road. he was a keen supporter of Michael Foot and Nye Bevan both strong left wingers in their early days.

The states "I believe the only way to change the Labour Party is to change it from within, Socialism is the only way forward". "and he went on to say "Labour Governments are not utopian, they make mistakes, however its up to you and I to keep them on their toes".

Bernard believes, unsurprisingly that the establishment of the National Health service was a "fantastic achievement"

On Amalgamation with NUPE & NALGO Bernard states I have always supported merger, I have always believed in the trade union motto "strength in unity" he found however that it was utterly opposed by the COHSE Full Time Officers who wanted to protect their own interests.

Bernard speech to the 1992 COHSE conference on the final Merger debate, Bernard (wearing his now famous red trousers) gave the most impressive speech, so impressive that the insuring personal attacks by those opposed to the new union attacked Bernard personanally on his age, which only served to re enforce the reasons why we were voting in favour of the new union. On the Unison Bernard has stated "We have to build a completely new union"

Bernard did not vote for Albert Spanswick in the General Secretary election's of 197? ("I think I voted for David Williams) Bernard believes that Albert Spanswick "Blossomed" and became "COHSE's best General Secretary" he was "always their leading us, although I may not have always agreed with the way he lead" vote 105 to 21 strike action began 1st April - 800 of 1,000 staff on strike  by late afternoon 2nd April management agreed to "status quo"

In April 1976 Tooting Bec hospital COHSE spearheaded by Bernard organised one of the first indefinite strike action taken by nurses in Britain, the strike lasted two days with no emergency cover and secured a victory. "no other way to retain the practices it had built up over twenty years and which management wished to eliminate"

On the 1982 dispute, Bernard believes their was a lack of leadership and believes we should have taken firmer action earlier on in the dispute. But Bernard did not believe in Emergency cover the union "should provide humanitarian cover, decided by those working in that area"

Bernard believes the 1988 Clinical Grading agreement was a "Major blunder, we walked into a trap" he explains. (Many would now disgree with that popular view at the time)

"Leadership is a very important quality" Bernard believes

Bernard has one son John by his first marriage, John is an ASLEF Train Driver on Southern region now in his 40's. Bernard's second marriage was to Una a Jamaican COHSE member working at Tooting bec.

I asked Bernard about how he would hope he would be seen by future generations of health care trade unionists " I worked hard and loyally for COHSE and would like to be remembered as a ordinary common or garden worker"

Bernard retired from the Health Service 66 days after his 65th Birthday, but when he is not gardening he still finds time everyday to go into the union office at Tooting Bec to carry out his Branch secretaryship duties

Bernard was simply one of the greatest COHSE activists

BM Interview notes with MW just after his retirement

Friday, October 06, 2006

Bexley Asylum 1901 (unionisation)

The Original Asylum Workers Union!

A Resume of 1901 at Bexley Asylum

It was a very earnest little band of workers that first hatched the plot, and decided to form an association for their own and their fellow workers mutual benefit.

Judicious discussions at the mess table and exaggerated ideas of his own importance on the part of the Medical Superintendent, somewhat hastened the project.

So we bide ourselves to a neigbouring tavern, coffee tavern, and made arrangements with the proprietor for the use of the club room.We were a poor lot, so the landlord kindly allowed us to use the room rent free, providing we paid for the gas consumed.

There were few enthusiasts, Tim Bobbin, Harry Lee, and W. Dutton, as well as your humble servant, and a host of passive supporters.

We had good attendances, at least thirty, and some-times nearly fifty came to our weekly meetings, and poured out their woes, and we even got as far as suggesting the appointment of a deputation to visit other Asylums, " with the view of forming one huge Association!!" .

In the meantime differences of opinion had arisen between the Medical Superintendent and several of our pioneers, with the result that they sought fresh pastures. Duty prevented their getting away to an occasional meeting (even if their pockets could have stood the expense).

Some months afterwards I visited the old place- there stood the heath in all it’s beauty, and the coffee tavern in all its grandeur—but the association and its members, alas ! were no more. Practically an entirely new staff had arrived at the large institution, and I turned wearily away to continue my wanderings.

Since that day one has tried many callings and places, and finally settled down in another branch of lunacy work, but it is refreshing to see the number of Attendants and Nurses who have taken advantage of the Asylum-Workers' Union in order to improve their conditions of service. For your own sake, try to rouse the others who have not yet joined; surely the low subscription is more than covered by the advantages of belonging to such a Union?

Are you aware that Asylum Attendants are worse fed and worse treated than any of the Attendants at our workhouses? There is no comparison between the two dietaries, and the conditions of service and chances of promotion which the latter has are infinitely better than the former " enjoys." The head of affairs at the workhouse is the Master—a man who has risen from the ranks—-and the doctor is subordinate to him. The result is, there is an appeal beyond the Medical Officer and one gets justice.

The Poor Law Officers' Association members are always speaking of you, and your grit, in forming a Trade Union, and admire you for it, but, if you are compelled to spend your life among the insane then get "the other fellow" to help to brighten and lighten the conditions of service. Let. your committees "know the dietary provided for officers at the workhouse nearest, to where you are engaged, and I'll guarantee your bread and butter three mornings and bacon 'four mornings per week" (this was in force at Birmingham City Asylum in 1900) will compare very poorly with the “Grubber " fare.

Mr. Editor, I have trespassed on your space for which I apologise, but I feel so convinced that many improvements could be made if members would only bestir themselves to help to make one strong body of Attendants and Nurses. Many of the Asylum Committee members are sympathetic—if you could get at them and put your side of the grievance as clearly as the Medical Superintendent puts his

Think it over


The National Asylum Workers Union Magazine April 1914

COHSE, TUC Suspension 1972

An open letter

Now the consequences...the shame of suspension . . . and finally the disgrace of TUCexpulsion.

To all COHSE members,

I am hoping to address this letter to you all through the medium of the Journal. Let me make it quite clear at the outset that the views I am expressing are entirely my own personal ones and not those of my branch, although I am quite certain the vast majority of my branch members and thousands of COHSE members throughout the country share my views.

To those of you who do not share my views let me say this: I do not think you
are mad, and I truly respect that you hold your views with just as much deep sincerity as I do mine, although no doubt we each believe the other to be mistaken. The consequences of COHSE's decision not to deregister are far reaching and I believe detrimental. Though there was doubt expressed at Conference by the platform as to how the TUC would act (I had no doubts
and told you so) you now know we are suspended, and that if we continue to remain on the register you must all surely know now that for certain we shall be expelled.

I urge all COHSE members even at this late hour to demand through their regional councils and branches that COHSE draws back from the brink as it were and rethink this whole issue.

Your President in his address to Conference described the Industrial Relations
Act as a vicious act by an incompetent government; how true, how very true, but
it is more than that... it is designed, for all its sugary coating, to destroy and divide the trade union movement under the ambit of the law, with the ultimate aim of state- controlled trade unions. Incompetent this government may be, but I would remind you that they are most competent in their attacks upon the working-class and more than competent in protecting the share-holders, landlords, price-rings and dividend grabbers.

It is quite wrong to look at this act in isolation. It must be judged alongside the background of their continued attacks upon the working people; it was this government who robbed the children of their free milk, put up school meals, introduced the wicked Rent Act and there is more in the pipe-line.

It was a government pf the same calibre who offered nurses a sixpenny wage in-
crease, and a Tory Minister of Health who said he was sick of the sight of nurses in uniform waving banners demanding a better deal.

The whole trade union movement is now fast becoming very much alive to the Government's anti-trade union activities and are acting in solidarity and in unision just like the COHSE motto on the front cover of your rule book, "all for one, and one for all". In the past the TUC has often been criticised for its lack of leadership and in-action, but now the TUC are acting positively, democratically and not running away. COHSE has been affiliated to the TUC, and rightly so, for many many years during which time all our officers and delegations have striven to create a most effective and worthwhile image for COHSE and recent reports have shown how very very successful they have been; to me, it would be most tragic to damage this wonderful image by one mistaken action.

COHSE supports six of the TUC's seven points against the Act. If it is argued, as a reason for not de-registering, that there is doubt as to whether the TUC's vote to oppose the Act was really as democratic as made out to be, then we should be consistent and oppose all seven points. At Conference when debating some of the nasty points about "Salmon" we were told by our Asst. Genera! Secretary most forcibly that you cannot pick out the nice bits and discard the nasty ones, but that you have to take Salmon as a whole; this is consistency let it run through all our actions.

The President in his presidential address to Conference said it was the determined intention to make COHSE and its branches the most forceful and effective voice in the Health Service. I would suggest that this can best be achieved by not wasting our energies attacking fellow trade unionists but by
using all our energy on mass recruitment,attacking policies that harm the conditions of service of our members, and playing a full role as members of a great trade union movement within the TUC and the Trades Councils.

I accept that the Industrial Relations Act is now law and I would not ask COHSE
or any trade union member to break the law. But let us be quite clear and honest: to de-register does not break the law in any way, and it is a human right (whilst obeying the law) to campaign vigorously against any unjust law. To suggest that if we deregister the government will not negotiate with us is ludicrous - you can all see for yourselves, that with over 95% of the TUC members off the register, the government still negotiates with the TUC because they know they are the voice of the whole trade union movement.

One final word-should we not, and I hope and pray that we do, change our
mistaken course and be finally expelled from the TUC, I shall not desert COHSE.I shall remain an active COHSE member, because I believe in COHSE, and I am dedicated to it; but I shall actively and honestly campaign to get us to de-register and so back within the TUC where we belong.

Let us start that active campaign now ,join with me, express your views and get
them discussed at branch and regional level, and so make the COHSE motto "all
for one, and one for all", ring loud and clear.

Thank you members.

Bernard Morgan

Tooting Bec Hospital COHSE Branch Secretary

November 1972 COHSE Journal