- Created: Thursday, 03 September 2015 12:29
- Written by Dominic Mulgrew
Throughout May to July, Revolutionary Communist Group supporters mobilised in support of striking Dundee hospital porters and Glasgow homelessness service caseworkers. Both were taking all-out strike action against low pay and to defend services.
After a 13-week strike, the 117 Dundee porters from Ninewells and Royal Victoria hospitals, members of Unite the Union, won an inspiring victory over their NHS Tayside bosses and the SNP Scottish Government. They won a re-grading, immediate pay rises, an increase in the number of full time, permanent portering jobs and a cash payment for every striker of £1,800.
In Glasgow, it took a 17-week strike action to force Glasgow City Council’s Labour Party bosses to concede pay re-grading for the 70 homelessness caseworkers, members of Unison, and guarantees over their jobs.
RCG supporters active in the Dundee Against Welfare Sanctions campaign set up a Porters Support Group. This support group encouraged porters to successfully picket local SNP MSP and Health Secretary Shona Robison’s office, which increased pressure on the Scottish Government to give way.
RCG supporters in Glasgow regularly attended morning pickets of caseworkers at the Hamish Allan Centre, the Two Max Building and the social work manager’s office at the city chambers on John Street. We brought with us guitars, megaphones, protest songs in support of the strikes, and towards the end even made balloons to keep up morale on pickets. We held Friday street collections on Argyle Street in June and donated £50 to the caseworkers strike fund.
In both cities we encouraged unity between the strikers and the unemployed by publicising and inviting all to attend strikers’ pickets and our weekly and monthly pickets outside the Wellgate and Govan jobcentres. We appealed on the basis that an injury to one is an injury to all.
The lesson of the strike is that if you unite and fight you can win. In a period of passivity, these struggles shine a light on what can happen when workers demand and take action.
Forward in the fight against welfare sanctions and low pay!
Below are the lyrics to one of the songs we wrote and sang for the strikers on the pickets lines:
Strike up another number loud and clear, we’re not going away!
Let the Labour council disappear but first we want fair pay,
We’re overworked but we’ve never shirked responsibility,
We’re the Glasgow homeless caseworkers to you
And were out on strike today
Strike today and tomorrow!
And in Dundee under the SNP, we’re not going away!
We voted yes for the NHS no to austerity,
But their paying us less and we want redress,
Backdate all our pay,
Were the hospital porters of Ninewells and Royal Victoriay,
And that’s what we’ll have, when we get, what were owed,
and the rest!
On a lower grade ye get crap paid, we’re not going away!
And if ye get crap paid ye don’t get made the service that ye may,
And if ye don’t get service, you’ll get nervous, when you have to stay,
In a hostel or a hospital so join the strike today
And unite for the fight coz its everybody’s right!