Workfare schemes are being “piloted” at a number of hospitals including West Birmingham hospital, Frinnage Hospital in South Tees and Stockport NHS foundation trust.
Untrained claimants are being forced into hospitals to care for the sick at the same time that paid staff are being served redundancy notices.
However, there are also stirrings of worker resistance to these attacks.
On 16 May, cleaners working for Carillion at Great Western Hospital, Swindon will strike as part of a long campaign against institutionalised bullying, discrimination and corruption.
Carillion bosses made the workers give them “gifts” in exchange for booking their entitled leave and shift requests.
GMB members are set to take their 19th day of action after senior management have admitted problems but have failed to make changes.
GMB members in Derriford Hospital, Plymouth, may move towards industrial ballot after contractor Serco attempted to unilaterally change their shift patterns. Serco is also attempting to derecognise the union.
Finally, 600 cleaning and catering staff at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, are moving towards a strike ballot after subcontractor Medirest attempted to cut 3,000 a year from workers’ wages, through a change in the shift pattern.
These disputes should be the start of a united fightback in the NHS to defend pay, terms and conditions.
If health workers can rebuild their confidence in their collective strength then this can only aid the battle to save the NHS from the private sector vultures.