Support the UVW Great Ormand Street Children’s Hospital 29 April rally
By Eraldo Strumiello – International Socialist League (ISL)
After an epic six-week strike in February and March, the heroic security guards at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) are continuing their fight against racist outsourcing by striking every Friday in April.
These security guards, and many other NHS staff, were pandemic heroes. We should never forget that during the pandemic (which is not over) GOSH staff were not given safety equipment when they helped patients, some of them had covid, into the hospital.
These workers at GOSH are denied the same annual leave, time off for sickness, and career advancement as other NHS workers and they do not have proper changing facilities. They do not get NHS sick pay; they have to get Statuary Sick Pay which is only £99.35 per week.
They are mostly Black and Brown and migrant workers. They have been subjected to vile racial slurs, union-busting and their effective picket outside the hospital has been made illegal.
Erica Rasheed GOSH security worker says, “Being the only woman in around 2000 female staff at Great Ormond Street Hospital who will get the worst maternity pay makes me think how important our fight is! I’m on strike for six weeks not only for a better pay rate or a pension but to be able to feed my family and provide a better life for my children.”
GOSH could easily afford to pay these security guards what they are demanding. The hospital spent £40,000 in fighting them in the court over an injunction to impose picket restrictions.
GOSH has to get rid of the outsourcing company Carlisle and employ them directly. The majority of the public is against the use of private companies to be involved in running the NHS. In 2019, a majority of the public (54%) thought transferring NHS staff to private companies is unacceptable, according to a UNISON/ComRes poll. And that percentage has increased since then.
The strikers are met with continuous hostility by hospital management to maintain a two-tier system of unequal working conditions, which shows the structural racism inside the hospital.
The GOSH workers explained, in a strike support meeting hosted by Liverpool Trades Council and Merseyside BLM Alliance, all they want are the same conditions as all the inhouse staff at GOSH. The meeting heard Alain and Alex explain the reasons for their strike and a UCU college rep that has been sacked, Nina Doran – fighting for reinstatement, and Tracey Hilton PCS for DWP workplaces (40 threatened with closure) spoke well and gave their full backing to the UVW strike.
MBLMA (Chantelle) and LTUC (Martin Ralph) spoke on the need to support the struggles of Black and Brown workers and the need to build direct links with workers for each struggle and strike throughout the country.
The meeting heard that, after an epic six-week strike in February and March, the heroic security guards at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) are continuing their fight against racist outsourcing by striking every Friday in April.
They can only stand 50 yards from the hospital and the court injunction put a limit on the number of pickets legally allowed to six and set a minimum distance for picket lines and protests. Dancing on the picket line will be forbidden.
This action is a forerunner of the police bill going through parliament. It shows what the state intends to do in fighting the rising struggle and strikes of workers and social movements such as XR. That is why we say all unions must join this fight making a picket, shouting and dancing illegal is a threat to all union and social struggle mobilisations.
Despite everything which has been thrown at them, these pandemic heroes remain defiant and committed to their struggle. They are touring the country, speaking everywhere they can. They won’t be stopped and will keep fighting.
Support 29 April rally
On Friday 29 April, the guards and their union, UVW, will be holding a large strike rally outside the hospital. By this point, the workers will have taken over 50 days of strike action as part of their fight for justice and equality.
Speaking from the picket line recently striking GOSH security guard Erica, said: “The injunction restricts our pickets to six outside the hospital. GOSH trustees hope to deny us our rights to equality and to speak the truth. But we will not be silenced. We are strong. We are determined.”
Support the UVW GOSH 29 April rally!
“We are going to fight; we are going to win”
We call on all trade unions and workers everywhere to fight together with the UVW!
Full support to GOSH UVW strikers!
End outsourcing private companies!
Build nationally coordinated strike action!
For public ownership of the NHS run by all NHS workers and patients!
Free NHS services for all including refugees!
Some information is taken from https://www.uvwunion.org.uk