Hillingdon Hospital Strikers
On 25th December, an enthusiastic band of supporters took Christmas greetings to the Picket Line outside Hillingdon Hospital. Harpal Brar brought solidarity greetings to the strikers and presented them with another £300 which had been collected for these wonderful workers.
When asked to sum up the achievements of 1998, Malkiat Bilkhu spoke of the tremendous victories at the Industrial Tribunal that ruled that the workers should be re-instated, and of the UNISON Conference motion which forced the UNISON leadership to restore official status to the strike.
“We have become a living symbol of what happens to jobs and job security, and what can be achieved when you fight back. People have continued to support us, even when the union leaders said the strike was unwinnable. It has been a victory for the whole working class and especially for low paid workers”
. Since the strikers are still trying to get their jobs back Malkiat emphasised that
“everyone must go on supporting us. We have many friends like yourselves who have stood by us and we value that support. I particularly thank the Socialist Labour Party for giving us physical and financial support throughout the strike”
Granada challenges Industrial Tribunal
The Industrial Tribunal unanimously decided that the strikers should be re-engaged at Hillingdon Hospital within six months of the hearing in October 1998. Since then they have received notice that Granada Services have asked for a further hearing of the Tribunal to challenge that this is practicable. But the Tribunal has already ruled that it was practicable as there was a considerable turnover of jobs at the hospital and that is why Granada was given 6 months to re-engage the strikers.
Granada sits on the government’s Low Pay Commission. If it refuses to re-engage the strikers they are demanding that Granada has no right to sit on this body. UNISON also has a representative on the Commission, this representative should challenge Granada at the next meeting. UNISON leaders, the Labour Party and Granada are have done everything in their power to prevent the low-paid workers of Hillingdon Hospital getting their jobs back under the same conditions and terms as before. Yet this coterie masquerade as defenders of the low paid – are all represented on the Low Pay Commission – and sit back and let `flexible’ wage packages be foisted on workers across the country.
The inspiration that the Hillingdon Hospital Workers have given to others in the fight back against atrocious wages and conditions, like the Tames Care Workers and many others, will be remembered for years to come. But right now you all have a duty to keep up the support – times are hard for everyone, but at this time of the year we can all dig into our pockets and look for that little bit extra which would be so much appreciated by the Strikers. They are remaining outside the hospital until they get their jobs back. They need financial help desperately, particularly the 4 evening ladies who have received no hardship money from the union since the Conference. Send money or cheques to HHS, c/o 27 Townsend Way, Northwood, Middx. HA6 1TG or telephone Malkiat on 0956 135311 to send greetings and arrange speakers for fund-raising events so that the coming dark, cold and hard times on the picket line can be warmed by your assistance.