Privatisation

Requisition resources for the NHS

Discussions about the state of the National Health Service are remarkably muted given the desperate reality. NHS campaigners, the left and the labour movement need to introduce a real sense of alarm — and clear, appropriately radical solutions. In the Guardian earlier this month, one doctor wrote about her difficulty even getting an emergency ambulance for a baby with falling oxygen levels. She commented that “this incident was only one of many examples I could quote which illustrate how close basic medical care is to collapsing in the UK”. The Financial Times has found that 2,047 more people...

Social care: the public service alternative

Really the only good thing about the Tories’ proposals for social care funding is that they are so blatantly not a solution to anything. The door is still open wide, perhaps now even wider, for a labour movement push for a real alternative on this crucial issue, shifting the debate, winning concessions and damaging the government in the process. But at the moment the push is far too weak. Our minimum alternative should be to make social care and support provision a publicly-owned, publicly-provided system, with enough public funding to ensure it is completely free, high quality and provides...

Hospital security guards to strike 6-9 December

Outsourced security guards at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) in central London will strike from 6-9 December, demanding parity with directly-employed NHS workers’ pay and conditions. The strike follows the successful struggle of outsourced cleaners at GOSH to win in-house employment and NHS contracts. Following the cleaners’ victory, security guards voted unanimously for industrial action. Security guard Samuel Awittor said: “We are going on strike because we feel that we have not been treated fairly and we’ve been discriminated against. GOSH is made up of departments of families. If you...

The union and outsourcing (John Moloney's column)

Following their victory in the recent dispute, our members in Royal Parks are preparing further demands, including over a range of safety issues, to submit to management. Throughout my time as Assistant General Secretary I’ve worked support and empower outsourced workers in the civil service to organise and take action. We’ve increased our membership by hundreds. We have a number of targets for next year, including winning company-wide bargaining with Mitie. This company holds ten major outsourced contracts in the civil service; we currently have recognition in seven. We want an agreement that...

Victory at Sage care home

Strikes by care workers at the Sage care home in north London have won significant pay increases. From 1 December, care workers, domestic, and maintenance staff will receive a pay increase to ÂŁ10.85 an hour. This represents a minimum pay increase of 11%. All other staff will receive a pay rise of 5%. The dispute at the care home began in March 2020, and has seen workers, who are members of the United Voices of the World union (UVW) strike several times, most recently in October 2021. Trustees of the care home include property magnate Benzion Freshwater, who has a net worth of over ÂŁ2 billion...

Royal Parks: an interim advance (John Moloney's column)

Outsourced cleaners and attendants in the Royal Parks have voted to accept a settlement in their dispute. A vote was held at a meeting on 18 November, with a follow-up check of members who couldn’t attend. It vastly improves sick pay arrangements, and enhances holiday pay. It also recognises the union, and several workers have come forward to be elected as reps. Although a clear victory, this is an interim settlement. There are many outstanding issues and other demands that workers want to press for, including issues regarding their contracts, health and safety and other matters. Another key...

Near victory in Royal Parks dispute

Last week I wrote that one of our members in the Royal Parks dispute was facing victimisation. Until that threat was lifted we couldn’t settle the dispute. The good news is that the threat of dismissal has now been withdrawn, and the member’s probation period has been extended, which is the outcome he was looking for. That means we can move forward with discussion around the employer’s offer. That offer includes the recognition of PCS, significant enhancement of sick pay arrangements, and improvements in many contractual terms. We’ll discuss the offer with members at a meeting on Thursday 18...

How to clean the stables of capitalism

Corruption. Conservatives. And the other big c-word here, really, is contracting-out. Contracting-out of public functions has expanded hugely over decades, since the 1980s. It generates lush and repeated profit-chances for those who can make the introductions, drop words in the right ears, or just give inside knowledge on the right notes to strike in applications. The squall about sleaze set off by the affair of paid-lobbying MP Owen Paterson comes on the back of two great contracting-out scandals which, somehow, so far, the Tories had managed to navigate with little punishment. The PPE...

Diary of an engineer: Bin strike - “Someone must be bullshitting”

The ERF [Energy Recovery Facility] where we work is fuelled and funded by bin waste. In a series of morning meetings, we’ve heard that the city’s refuse collection workers are taking strike action over pay and conditions. The first strike day [scheduled for 1 November] was called off after the company made a pay offer, but the GMB drivers’ branch rejected it. The following week, workers and managers at the ERF began discussing the effect on the plant. Management estimate (or at least tell us that they estimate) a small reduction in waste. Other waste streams will be tipped at the plant as...

Sticking issue in Royal Parks

In my last column, I reported that the month-long strike by outsourced workers in Royal Parks had forced a major concession, with Just Ask, the outsourced contractor, proposing to increase sick pay entitlement from six days to a maximum of three months, depending on length of service. But they wanted a whole range of differentials to apply, so that only certain workers would get the increased sick pay. They have now backed down from that, so length of service will be the only variable affecting sick pay entitlement. Obviously, the ideal would be maximum entitlement for all workers from day one...

This website uses cookies, you can find out more and set your preferences here.
By continuing to use this website, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms & Conditions.