The first week of September saw an escalation in the long-running dispute between cleaners, porters and switchboard workers and their private employers Rentokil Initial at Whipps Cross Hospital in Leytonstone, East London. The workers are trying to win pay and conditions equal to those employed directly by the NHS.
Over 200 workers were involved in the strike, with a healthy turn out of about forty on the picket line. The strike went ahead despite a last minute offer from management, who have agreed to “Agenda for Change” pay rates, but dragging their feet over most of the £1,400 in backdated London weighting they owe workers.
This is not the first time that Rentokil has blatantly ignored agreements for increases in NHS hospitals, with a number of strikes on the issue across the country since 2004.
The Whipps Cross workers are threatening to up their action with five day and then indefinite strikes if necessary. For taking on their cowboy contractor employer they deserve our admiration; to win their dispute they need our support.
• Send donations c/o Chris Remington, Unison London region, Congress House, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3LS. Cheques should be made payable to “Unison” and marked clearly as donations to the Whipps Cross dispute.