By a health worker
Health workers are stepping up campaigns for NHS pay and conditions from the private contractors in the NHS. Privatised NHS workers get lower pay and poorer conditions than workers doing the same job on NHS contracts.
At Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals workers employed by Serco have voted to strike in support of their claim for NHS pay and conditions. Serco offered them a compromise deal, but talks came to a standstill amid rumours that Serco reneged on their offer at the last minute. A mass meeting in Norwich is due to discuss a response.
Action is planned or is imminent elsewhere. Hospitals in east London, where privatised staff won a landmark pay deal a couple of years ago after strike action, are again preparing to take action, on a similar claim to that in Norwich. Claims have gone in from UNISON nationally to all the major NHS private contractors, but the lesson from Norwich is that only a credible threat of strike action can deliver concessions.
Harry Seddon, Branch Secretary in Norfolk, told Solidarity, "We think that Agenda for Change is achievable. But action to win it must be widespread across the union. If it can be done in Norwich I really do think it can be done anywhere and everywhere."