Ian Burge Archive   |   ETOL Main Page

Ian Burge

London Hospital Strike

(June 1977)

From Militant, No. 358, 3 June 1977, p. 12.
Transcribed by Iain Dalton.
Marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

All admissions have been stopped by management at the London Hospital, and at Mile End and St Clements. Essential portering and ancillary staff are in dispute with management over the payment of money owed over a period of 13 years. They are operating an overtime ban and work to rule. Their action has proved that the hospital cannot function without staff working long hours and without their great fund of goodwill and devotion.

The money is due to the workers who work overtime on a regular basis, under an agreement signed in 1964. Representatives of the ancillary workers recently discovered that management had never paid these workers their full entitlement. Management have admitted this and have agreed to give back pay, but only at the old rates, which would be taxed at current rates!

The union is quite correctly demanding that the money owed is paid at present rates of pay rather than the rates in operation for each year. Inflation and tax increases have eroded the value of back pay to which they are entitled.

Management have claimed that they cannot give back pay at current rate because the Department of Health won’t allow it, yet many hospitals up and down the country, and even one under the same Area Health Authority, have already given the full payment demanded by the NUPE members.

Negotiations have been dragging on for 18 months and management have been trying to take advantage of an apparent lull in militancy. This has had the reverse effect to that intended. Instead of dividing the workers, management’s petty actions have welded the workers together in a more determined mood. Although only NUPE is involved at present, all unions are standing together in support.

Ian Burge Archive   |   ETOL Main Page

Last updated: 10 July 2017