Category Archives: Campaigns

Posts relating to campaigns being run by York TUC.

Trade Unionists set for initial strikes at York District Hospital – more to follow

Union members at York District Hospital have voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action, officials announced yesterday. A ballot of members of the Unite union returned a majority of 92.6% in favour of a strike, in a dispute over the implementation of a Limited Liability Company (LLC), a private initiative set to be effectively forced on health workers with effect from the 1st of October. With two days of strike action already announced for the 27th and 28th of September – and the possibility of further action under consideration – an escalating row has erupted over the Trust’s lack of meaningful consultation with both the unions and the public.

York TUC President Leigh Wilks, who writing in the York Press back in March publicly urged the Trust to enter into talks, reiterated who should shoulder the blame in a press release issued earlier today: “The so-called consultation process in this case is a joke. York NHS Trust has some serious questions to answer. Agree to talks now, as we asked you to do six months ago. You are barely meeting the legal definition of meaningful consultation, and for a public service that is not acceptable.” He added: “No union member takes going on strike lightly. But by all accounts York NHS Trust has attempted to frustrate the union reps with a campaign of evasiveness and subterfuge. Refusing to show the business plan for the LLC on the basis that it is “commercially sensitive” does not fool anyone, and your written assurances to staff that roles will remain unaffected are clearly not believed by 96% of Unite members. If you fail to act now, that shows a clear intransigence totally inappropriate to a public service provider.”

Unite shop steward and York TUC delegate Mal Richardson, who with colleague Michelle Hartlett has led the hospital workers’ campaign against the Limited Liability Company, was even more forthright: “If they discipline me, I’ll be on the picket line. If they bully me, I’ll still be on the picket line. And if they sack me, I will come back to haunt them.”

Limited Liability Companies (LLC) have been used by various NHS trusts up and down the country as a means of bringing healthcare workers under the auspices of a private company, while still under the public NHS umbrella. In some areas, they have been forced through with very little opposition; however in others, they have met with fierce union resistance, forcing the health trusts to back down and abandon the policy. Part of the problem with the York Trust’s plans is the appalling lack of transparency and the limitation of meaningful “consultation” to a list of “Q&A’s” issued to staff on a piece of paper. The general public – mostly oblivious to the fact that the plan even exists – have been given even less of an opportunity to voice their concerns. By attempting to rush the plan through as quickly as possible, the Trust’s management have shown a contempt to their staff, their union stewards who are there to represent their interests, and the public who rely on the service and who overwhelmingly oppose further privatisation.

The closure of Bootham Park Hospital, which has left York with little to no mental health provision and resulted in vulnerable patients being shipped off to private providers in Darlington and elsewhere, has shown that – at a minimum – the management of York NHS Trust now deserves business serious scrutiny and that – in the case of this proposed Limited Liability Company – they are doing everything they can to avoid being scrutinised. Their cavalier attitude to consulting their staff, and the union reps who represent them, is characteristic of the behaviour of the very worst multinational corporations; the fact that this behaviour should be displayed by the city’s biggest employer, and the nation’s number one public service, is a devastating reflection of the times – and a savage indictment of the free-market policies of one of the most vicious Governments in living memory. “The ball is now in their court,” says Mr Wilks. “They have had well over six months notice of what could potentially happen if they didn’t listen to the concerns of the staff. Let us hope now that they put this plan on hold – or better still, abandon it. But forcing this through is no longer an option – I hope that at the very least is crystal clear. You will not stream-roller these plans through if we have anything to do with it – and if you do, there will be hell to pay.”

Messages of support & solidarity for the strikers can be emailed to:




Lobby for a Railway Fit for the Future!

In the next few weeks the government will announce their future plans for rail services in the north, let’s make sure they know that York wants investment, improvements and lower ticket prices! Join York TUC – and our RMT friends – at the National Railway Museum to lobby Rail Minster Claire Perry and Northern Rail boss Alex Hynes to demand no cuts to jobs or services and a railway fit for 2014 and beyond! Assemble from 5.30pm on Wednesday the 19th outside the National Rail Museum, Leeman Road – look out for our banner! The RMT Press Release is as follows:

RAIL UNION RMT is to lobby rail minister Claire Perry over the threatened carve up of rail services across the North when she arrives in York next week, with Northern Rail boss Alex Hynes in tow, for a presentation at the National Rail Museum in the City.

The event at the National Rail Museum is scheduled to start at 6pm next Wednesday (19th November) with RMT promising a lively demonstration outside, assembling from 5.30pm, as part of the union’s on-going campaign against the threat to jobs, services and safety bound up in the Government and Rail North’s proposals for both the new Northern and TPE franchises. Claire Perry, whose Government are planning to axe guards from services in order to maximise company profits, faces the prospect of an embarrassing conflict with Northern boss Alex Hynes who has publicly contradicted the plans to remove the guards and conductors; “We’ve got no plans to do DOO [Driver Only Operation]”, Northern Rail Managing Director Alex Hynes told the influential Rail Business Intelligence magazine , pointing out that the Class 319s transferring to the route from Thameslink in the south and which are set up for DOO “will be modified for conductors to open and close doors”. DOO at Northern was “currently being consulted on, but you would need to invest hugely in either station or train-based infrastructure to implement it”, he pointed out. “We have 464 stations, most of which are not staffed and don’t have any retail equipment whatsoever, and actually it’s far more efficient to have someone on the train with a ticket machine than it is to have someone on the station with a ticket machine”. Rail Business Intelligence August 14, 2014. Meanwhile, RMT has welcomed news that Sheffield has become the latest big city to publicly pass a motion opposing the Northern and TPE franchise plans, heaping further pressure on the Government and helping to fuel the on-going RMT campaign. RMT has blasted the franchise moves as “a kick in the teeth for the travelling public and staff alike on Northern and Trans-Pennine Express franchises , reinforcing the importance of the community standing alongside rail workers in the fight to stop the destruction of rail services right across the North”. RMT has also pointed out the rank hypocrisy of Government ministers talking up plans for an un-costed and vague proposal for a northern “HS3” service, light years off in the future, while at the same time their current franchise plans on existing routes would rip apart services, jobs and safety. RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said: “RMT will be at the National Rail Museum in York to confront the sheer hypocrisy of Government ministers like Claire Perry and their Rail North allies who are talking up grand and un-costed plans for HS3 while at the same time, in the here and now, they are driving through proposals that would decimate rail services and rail jobs across the whole of the North. “The fight to stop the outrageous carve up of jobs and services under the Northern and TPE franchise plans is gathering pace by the day and is sending out the clearest possible message to the Government and Rail North that they need to scrap this attack on transport services. Claire Perry will have an ideal opportunity in York next week to hear about RMT’s concerns first hand and we don’t intend to miss our chance. “Let’s not forget that the core of the Government’s future plans for Northern and TPE is to axe jobs, restrict services, throw the guards off the trains and jack up fares while capacity to meet surging rail demand in the area is left to stagnate. That attack on the fare-paying public has already begun with the abolition of a wide range of off-peak fares and only an all-out and coordinated fight can stop the savage assault on rail in the North.”

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