The Socialist 10 December 2008 |
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Hospital trust offers pay cuts for Christmas
Staff working in the Greenwich Community Outreach Team, dealing with mentally ill patients, have just been told that they will be sacked and offered new contracts, minus a 17.5% allowance currently received for weekend working. On average this will amount to a pay cut of £400 a month.
The team is composed of eight workers. Four are members of Greenwich Unison, while three are members of the Oxleas NHS Unison branch and one is an RCN member.
All eight members have asked that Onay Kasab, the Greenwich Unison secretary act as their spokesperson. This is because Greenwich Unison has proposed a strategy to fight off this attack.
The representative from Oxleas Unison has said there is no point fighting and promised "dark days ahead" unless the proposals are accepted - although the members did point out to her that it does not get much darker than pay cuts and job losses!
In a clear tactical move, the bosses at the Oxleas trust have refused to accept Onay Kasab as a spokesperson for the whole team. They say that they will only discuss trust staff with the trust rep - who the bosses know is recommending acceptance.
Greenwich Unison has now made an application for authorisation of industrial action to the union's region.
No doubt now the branch will face a huge battle to get this authorised - but it is a battle that the branch is determined to win - not just for the local government employees but for the whole team.
It also clearly illustrates both why the current Unison witch-hunt is taking place and how vital it is that the witch-hunt is fought off. See: www.stopthewitchhunt.org.uk.
A clear difference in approach exists between militant branches willing to fight for members, such as Greenwich Unison, and those who believe that workers must continually accept attack after attack without a fightback.