Saturday, May 20, 2006

Maude Wiese

MAUD EVE WIESE

Miss Maud Wiese was the first woman member of the National Asylum Workers Union (NAWU) Executive Council, she was adopted as NAWU candidate in the General Nursing Council elections held after the passing of the 1919 Nurses Registration Act.

She was the first NAWU candidate elected to the GNC in 1922. She was incessant in pressing the interests of mental nurses on the General Nursing Council (now Nursing & Midwifery Council) during the early 1920s.

This earned her many enemies among the entrenched interests dominant in its decision-making structures, especially the College of Nursing.

She retired from the GNC in 1927 active campaigning during the late 1920s, after promotion to head nurse at Claybury Mental Hospital in Woodford Green, Essex. In August 1927 she was appointed Assistant Matron at Bexley Mental Hospital, Kent.

In 1937 she stood again for the GNC again along with Iris Brook and Thora Silverthorne.

Note also links with Banstead Asylum ? Surrey

Probably borm Battersea 1890 (1901 census)

Dr William Wiggins NUCO President

Dr William Wiggins MRCS LRCP DPH

An early President of the Poor Law Workers Trade Union (PLWTU) Dr Wiggins was the most prominent doctor in the union's history.

After 1911 he was medical superintendent at Greenwich Infirmary and, in the years following the First World War, threw himself into the movement to establish a union for poor law employees.

He was defeated in the Presidential election, December 1923 by David Priestly (President 1923-1926) a hospital barber from Epsom

Dr Wiggins may have been the most active medical man in the union's history, but other doctors did join and participate.

In the 1930s a Medical Services Guild was established as part of NUCO to cater for their interests, which continued into COHSE.

Friday, May 19, 2006


FIGHTBACK

30 Camden Road, London NW1

Campaign Against Private Medicine

As you may know, Fightback is a national campaign which was set up in 1978 by several major anti-cuts campaigns. Our aim is to support and co-ordinate any campaign or trade union action taken against the cuts in the National Health Service and fight for better health for all. Since then we have been involved in most of the hospital work-ins and other anti-cuts campaigns. We are a completely independent organisation made up of affiliated bodies, mainly trade union branches (health, public sector and industrial) and Trades Councils and Cuts Campaigns i'rom all over the country. We produce regular Publications such as our quarterly bulletin and Action Sheets on specific topics. However, in recent months it has become clear that cutbacks in the NHS are directly linked to a massive restructuring of health care services. And although most people are painfully aware of the current underfunding of the NHS, they are less aware of the direct links between this and the rapid growth in private medicine. For this reason, Fightback has decided to throw its resources during the coming months into a major campaign against private medicine and the decline of the NHS.

Is private medicine that important? We think it is. The stated aim of the present Health Minister, Dr Gerard Vaughan, is that 25% of health services should be provided by the private sector. The Financial Times (7.1.1981) calculated that inSeptember 1980, 3.4' million people were covered by private health insurance schemes (this represented a growth of 25% in one year). Other aspects are the abolition of the Health Services Board which has helped to make private hospital building a boom industry; new doctors' contracts which allow more time for private patients; the proposals for a new system of National Insurance coupled with charity schemes and lotteries to raise funds for hospitals and equipment by which people are asked to pay twice for services. But perhaps the most worrying thing is the result of a National Opinion Poll survey on trade unionists' attitudes to private health insurance. This showed that in February 1980, out of a survey of 2,000 trade unionists, 66% said they were in favour of their union accepting a deal on pay which included private health insurance.

Meanwhile, in the NHS there are ever increasing waiting lists, hospital and ward closures, staff shortages and low pay. It is no surprise that many people mistakenly see private medicine and private health insurance as a solution to their own problems. What we see is a dangerous slide towards market-place, profit-motivated health for those that can pay, and an impoverished, charity-backed NHS for those that can't, including the elderly, the chronic sick, mentally ill and physically disabled. We believe this will totally undermine the basis of the NHS as it was set up in 1948.

Our campaign is intended to back up the trade unions' commitment to oppose the existence of private medicine. We are fighting for an efficient, expanded National Health Service, freely available to all at time of need, paid for by general contributions and democratically controlled by those who work in and use it.

To launch the campaign, Fightback is planning to hold a conference in the summer of 1981, and we are producing a pamphlet to be of direct use to trade unionists and the Labour movement in the workplace and in the community. Our last pamphlet, "Keeping Hospitals Open", sold 8,000 copies and was widely circulated especially amongst public sector trade unions and campaigns. We intend this pamphlet to reach an even bigger audience and in particular unions whose members may feel persuaded to join workplace health insurance schemes. We would like to print 10,000 copies at first. This will require a big initial outlay, but the reduced cost for printing this number will allow us to keep the price of the pamphlet low. We hope that this will build up interest and support for the summer conference. In both pamphlet and conference, our emphasis will be on providing the basic facts and arguments, with practical examples from different areas and suggestions for ways of organising effectively.

We are writing to you to ask for your support in this campaign.

WHAT WE ARE ASKING FOR

1. A DONATION — as large as you can make, towards our target of £3,000. (If you wish, this can take the form of a monthly Banker's Order.)

2. SPONSORSHIP. We would like to add your name to our list of sponsors for our pamphlet and/or conference.

3. ADVANCED ORDERS OF THE PAMPHLET (at a reduced rate for sponsoring bodies).

4. For you to CIRCULATE INFORMATION about the Private Medicine campaign amongst your members. (Further copies of this letter available from Fightback.) We will be happy to inform you of all planning meetings for the conference and hope you will be able to send a delegate. We will also be pleased to provide you with any further details or information you require on Fightback and on our proposals. We enclose a reply slip. .

We look forward to your response.

Yours, in solidarity

Kate Truscott, Vicky Hutchin

(for Fightback)

Circa March 1981

FIGHTBACK

30 Camden Road, London NW1

Campaign Against Private Medicine

As you may know, Fightback is a national campaign which was set up in 1978 by several major anti-cuts campaigns. Our aim is to support and co-ordinate any campaign or trade union action taken against the cuts in the National Health Service and fight for better health for all. Since then we have been involved in most of the hospital work-ins and other anti-cuts campaigns. We are a completely independent organisation made up of affiliated bodies, mainly trade union branches (health, public sector and industrial) and Trades Councils and Cuts Campaigns i'rom all over the country. We produce regular Publications such as our quarterly bulletin and Action Sheets on specific topics. However, in recent months it has become clear that cutbacks in the NHS are directly linked to a massive restructuring of health care services. And although most people are painfully aware of the current underfunding of the NHS, they are less aware of the direct links between this and the rapid growth in private medicine. For this reason, Fightback has decided to throw its resources during the coming months into a major campaign against private medicine and the decline of the NHS.

Is private medicine that important? We think it is. The stated aim of the present Health Minister, Dr Gerard Vaughan, is that 25% of health services should be provided by the private sector. The Financial Times (7.1.1981) calculated that inSeptember 1980, 3.4' million people were covered by private health insurance schemes (this represented a growth of 25% in one year). Other aspects are the abolition of the Health Services Board which has helped to make private hospital building a boom industry; new doctors' contracts which allow more time for private patients; the proposals for a new system of National Insurance coupled with charity schemes and lotteries to raise funds for hospitals and equipment by which people are asked to pay twice for services. But perhaps the most worrying thing is the result of a National Opinion Poll survey on trade unionists' attitudes to private health insurance. This showed that in February 1980, out of a survey of 2,000 trade unionists, 66% said they were in favour of their union accepting a deal on pay which included private health insurance.

Meanwhile, in the NHS there are ever increasing waiting lists, hospital and ward closures, staff shortages and low pay. It is no surprise that many people mistakenly see private medicine and private health insurance as a solution to their own problems. What we see is a dangerous slide towards market-place, profit-motivated health for those that can pay, and an impoverished, charity-backed NHS for those that can't, including the elderly, the chronic sick, mentally ill and physically disabled. We believe this will totally undermine the basis of the NHS as it was set up in 1948.

Our campaign is intended to back up the trade unions' commitment to oppose the existence of private medicine. We are fighting for an efficient, expanded National Health Service, freely available to all at time of need, paid for by general contributions and democratically controlled by those who work in and use it.

To launch the campaign, Fightback is planning to hold a conference in the summer of 1981, and we are producing a pamphlet to be of direct use to trade unionists and the Labour movement in the workplace and in the community. Our last pamphlet, "Keeping Hospitals Open", sold 8,000 copies and was widely circulated especially amongst public sector trade unions and campaigns. We intend this pamphlet to reach an even bigger audience and in particular unions whose members may feel persuaded to join workplace health insurance schemes. We would like to print 10,000 copies at first. This will require a big initial outlay, but the reduced cost for printing this number will allow us to keep the price of the pamphlet low. We hope that this will build up interest and support for the summer conference. In both pamphlet and conference, our emphasis will be on providing the basic facts and arguments, with practical examples from different areas and suggestions for ways of organising effectively.

We are writing to you to ask for your support in this campaign.

WHAT WE ARE ASKING FOR

1. A DONATION — as large as you can make, towards our target of £3,000. (If you wish, this can take the form of a monthly Banker's Order.)

2. SPONSORSHIP. We would like to add your name to our list of sponsors for our pamphlet and/or conference.

3. ADVANCED ORDERS OF THE PAMPHLET (at a reduced rate for sponsoring bodies).

4. For you to CIRCULATE INFORMATION about the Private Medicine campaign amongst your members. (Further copies of this letter available from Fightback.) We will be happy to inform you of all planning meetings for the conference and hope you will be able to send a delegate. We will also be pleased to provide you with any further details or information you require on Fightback and on our proposals. We enclose a reply slip. .

We look forward to your response.

Yours, in solidarity

Kate Truscott, Vicky Hutchin

(for Fightback)

1974 COHSE Nurses Campaign Diary

CAMPAIGN DIARY 1974 COHSE NURSES STRIKE

Campaign diary

30 April 1974: Staff Side meet the Secretary of State to request that she appoint an independent review body for nurses' pay and that an interim payment be made while the review body sits. COHSE launches its campaign for a major re-examination of nursing pay. Albert Spanswick tells 1,500 nurses outside the Department of Health (Elephant & Castle):

'the Government's action on key social policy questions inherent in the social contact cannot exclude a full re-examination of the pay of people like nurses who form the human side of the equation. It must be clearly stated that nurses are highly-skilled, highly-trained employees carrying a high degree of clinical responsibility and who work constantly under great strain and pressure ... [and] ...that if no movement is forthcoming, we will be forced to explore the possibilities of further action.'

Many more nurses had arrived at the COHSE organised demonstration than expected, and it was the signal for demonstrations all over the country; on one Saturday there were simultaneous demonstrations in seven major cities.

8 May 1974: eleven nurses at Storthes Hall Hospital, Huddersfield, strike for one hour— three wards closed. For the first time, nurses have taken industrial action — 'The possibility', said the Guardian of 13 May 'of strikes by nurses is real for the first time.' Announcement of £18 million to implement minor increases flowing from the implementation of the Briggs Report — only increases anger of most nurses.

13 May 1974: first moves made to restrict hospital admissions

14 May 1974: nurses at Newsham General, Liverpool, strike for one hour.

15 May 1974: Albert Spanswick calls for 'no less than £100 million on the table' and rejects any reference to a standing royal commission — 'I am sad to have to say that it is now no longer possible to assume that nurses will never take strike action.' Over fifty MPs sign a Labour motion calling for nurses' pay to be doubled.

16 May 1974: COHSE's NEC meets in emergency session and decides that industrial action will be imposed if the meeting at 10 Downing Street with the Prime Minister on 20 May does not provide 'cash on the table'. Rcn argues for mass resignations of nurses from the NHS.

20 May 1974: meeting at 10 Downing Street yields a promise only of urgent consideration of the problem and an assurance of the Government's concern.

21 May 1974: emergency meeting of all COHSE regional officers held. Six-point

plan of industrial action announced to come into effect at midnight on 26—27 May, as follows:

(a) a ban on clerical duties;

(b) a ban on domestic duties;

(c) a ban on 'acting-up';

(d) a ban on all overtime;

(e) selected and short withdrawals of labour;

(f) ASC staff asked not to fill-in with domestic jobs normally done by nurses, 200 nurses at Guy's Hospital warn that they will treat only emergency cases from 27 May 1974.

23 May 1974: announcement on industrial action prompts a surprise statement from the Secretary of State — an independent inquiry to be set up under Lord Halsbury and any increases backdated to the date of the announcement. But no word of an interim payment or a fixed date for the inquiry to report by. COHSE dismissed some talk of a 'miners-type inquiry' as 'rather optimistic'.


25 May 1974: COHSE's NEC meets in emergency session to consider the announcement of the inquiry. After the meeting, Albert Spanswick tells the press that the, industrial action stays because there is no interim payment and the inquiry could 'take months' (no specific date other than 'late summer' had been announced).

29 May 1974 : one and two hour stoppages occur every day in all parts of the country. Nearly 20,000 nurses are affected in the North-west on 29 May.

COHSE announces special measures to prevent seriously ill patients being affected.

June 1974: by the end of the first week, over fifty wards have been closed and patient care rearranged, COHSE action committees in local hospitals enjoy for the most part good co-operation with local hospital management.

Dockers in Manchester and other industrial workers stop work in sympathy during the first week. Industrial action spreads to local authority nurses.

During this month, strong support is shown from many nurses, not all of whom are COHSE members. Emergency arrangements stand-up, doctors voice support and wards continue to close. Many hospitals are restricted to emergency-only admissions. Membership of the inquiry is not announced until 7 June.

COHSE Delegate Conference opens in Margate on 10 June. Nursing pay debate on Tuesday. Hard-line position for all-out NEC Emergency Resolution offering complete return to normality if interim payment is offered carried overwhelmingly. John Cronin, MP, Chairman of COHSE's Parliamentary Committee, backs demand for an interim payment.

20 June 1974 : COHSE decides to step-up action, believing that an interim payment is reasonable, because of the absence of a firm date for the report's publication. Nurses give COHSE an overwhelming vote of confidence — May recruiting figures show 14,882 new nurse members. Bans introduced on private patients and agency nurses, and a ban placed on all non-emergency admissions.


28 June 1974: following a week of secret meetings between senior COHSE officers and the Secretary of State, Mrs Castle says that Lord Halsbury will announce the publication date of his report at the end of July, and that she 'will consider asking him to recommend an interim payment' if the report is unduly delayed.


29 June 1974; COHSE's NEC meets in emergency session and agrees to suspend industrial action. Albert Spanswick says that 'the Government has been prepared to move towards us and we have been prepared to move towards them. We have succeeded in defining the date of the report .' Bans on private beds and agency nurses remain. COHSE looks towards the 31 August deadline set by Delegate Conference. Between three and four hundred wards have been closed during the course of the campaign.

July 1974: at the end of July, Mrs Castle tells a special meeting of COHSE's NEC that the report will be published in the week beginning 16 September. NEC agrees not to reimpose industrial action — Albert Spanswick says that COHSE's action has been instrumental in getting the inquiry and that the industrial action had, by expressing the determination of nurses, achieved the establishment of a clear date for the Committee's deliberations. Industrial action had been regrettable, but 'had given nurses their self-respect'.

Report published 17 September. Saga of 1972 revaluation claim finally over.

1974 Nurses Dispute - Background

In late 1971, as the Staff Side of the Nurses and Midwives Whitley Council began their preparations for the submission of the 1972 pay claim, some of its members and their organisations were becoming increasingly worried about the impact of a number of factors on the overall pay position of British nurses.

Not only were serious manpower shortages becoming more than usually apparent, but a rather higher rate of inflation was beginning to depress nurses' salaries in their comparability within the scale of professionally qualified staff, both within and outside the National Health Service.

In addition, both the Government's consultative document on the reorganisation of the NHS (issued in May 1971) and the Committee on Nursing under the chairmanship of Professor Asa Briggs (established in March 1970) posed problems of uncertainty. It was against this background that the Staff Side decided to submit a major claim for revaluation and restructuring of nurses' pay, a decision in which COHSE and its chief negotiator Albert Spanswick, then COHSE Assistant General Secretary, were instrumental.

The claim, shown in Table 1 in much simplified form alongside the then existing ranges of pay, was finally submitted on 12 January 1972. It was this claim, ranging as it did from 26 per cent to 40 per cent for different grades, which more than two years later, was to be the claim on which nurses for the first time in history took sustained industrial action

including temporary stoppages, withdrawals of labour and restrictions on working practices. It was a unique claim, and was to prove a unique campaign, noted for its exploration and discovery of the sanctions and measures which could be taken by those working in the area of patient care and life and death — an area previously thought immune from industrial action.

Unique, too, in the determination, frustration and desperation which had built up over the years.

The most substantial claim was in respect of student and pupil nurses, who, although unqualified, were involved for a large part of their time in practical nursing and frequently took a great deal of responsibility. The claim for them was between 41% and 49% and was crucial in particular to the nursing trade unions represented on the Staff Side. The claim gave substantial rises to senior qualified staff (nursing officer and above: those largely involved in administration), but in every case gave more to the minimum than the maximum of the range of scales. In the case of clinical nurses, staff nurses, enrolled nurses and ward sisters, however, the revaluation claim attempted to make scale maximums far more generous, particularly at ward sister level, by introducing a second and senior

level which, it was hoped, might provide the basis for a career structure in clinical rather than administrative nursing. In the case of ward sisters, the claim varied from 32 per cent to 48 per cent at minimum and maximum, 26 per cent to 39 per cent in the case of staff nurses, and 25 pei- cent to 39 per cent in the case of enrolled nurses.

On 22 February 1972 the Staff Side accepted an interim award of 8 per cent to become operative on 1 April, but more importantly, obtained the agreement of

Management Side to discuss the revaluation claim and in a joint statement of that date, it was declared that 'agreement was expected in the autumn'. This was a major landmark, as the Staff Side had raised the question of revaluation on the agenda and Management Side had agreed to consider it; thus major pay discussions would continue on throughout the year instead of being shelved until the following spring.

The 8 per cent award provided new ranges of salaries for various grades:

Min. Max.

£ £

Ward sister 1,407 1,821

Staff nurse 1,089 1,299

Enrolled nurse 954 1,134

Student/pupil 621/693/738

But the priority of the Staff Side was clear, as Albert Spanswick spelt out to COHSE's Scarborough Conference in June

. '...but what is vital is to complete the revaluation of the salaries, because this will give the greatest benefit to the greatest number of nurses...'

Discussions on smaller items attached to the revaluation claim extended during the summer and agreement to take effect on 1 October was reached on long-service increments (after three years in post), stand-by and on-call payments, and payment between the passing of exams and registration, but still no news emerged about the substantial revaluation of pay. And then disaster struck.

The Conservative Government announced a total pay-freeze on Tuesday 5 November 1972 'which had the dramatic effect of terminating substantial discussion on the revaluation claim. The detailed effect of that statutory incomes policy is examined elsewhere and shows that nurses, far from gaining their expected revaluation, lost substantial ground in their relative position, or in other words, nurses' earnings declined even more steeply than the national average.

In an urgent attempt to remedy this development, COHSE with others argued for an up-grading revision of the revaluation claim which was eventually agreed at an additional 15 per cent, which was lodged with Management Side on 23 January 1973. The revised revaluation claim now called for:

Min. Max..

£ £

Ward sister 1,971 2,844

Staff nurse 1,464 1,920

Enrolled nurse 1,263 1,674

Student/pupil 978/1,035/1,149

The claim for the ward sister's salary range was now nearing COHSE's long-established salary target of £3,000 per annum. In accordance with Phase Two of the statutory policy. Management Side on 13 February offered £1 plus 4 per cent which amounted to £35.7 million (or about 8 per cent of the gross pay bill of £446 million).

The impact of incomes policy supposedly designed to assist the lower paid had been severe and accordingly the offer was referred back to the COHSE executive committees of the nursing organisations. The day before the next meeting of the Staff Side, the Confederation's National Executive Committee decided, after a long meeting, to argue for equal distribution of the global sum to all nurses. On the following day (3 April) the Royal College of Nursing and the professional associations used their voting majority to defeat COHSE's proposal, which had been supported by all the other nursing trade unions. An increase giving a minimum £102 per annum but then £1 plus 4 percent to all nurses was agreed, with COHSE and the other nursing unions voting against, because the effect of the agreement was to give over £220 to the top of the chief nursing officer scale, while only giving £78 to a first year student/pupil (under 21), and £102 to a staff nurse.

A senior enrolled nurse grade was introduced for psychiatric hospitals on the same scale as for general hospitals but including the psychiatric 'lead'. It was agreed to refer nurses' pay to the Pay Board established by the counter- inflation legislation and to ask for an immediate independent inquiry.

The Government had still to make a move over the Briggs Report — published the previous October — and moreover, two controversies within NHS Reorganisation broke out over the summer: firstly, the argument over 'top posts' (the new regional and area nursing posts were to be paid less than equivalent administrators); and secondly, because special payments for extra work involved in NHS Reorganisation were vetoed by the Pay Board. So, in September 1973 when the Staff Side came to the Pay Board Relativities Inquiry (the procedure whereby nurses could request 'special treatment' under the counter-inflation legislation), morale was low and the pay position even worse than when the revaluation claim had first been lodged.

Evidence was given to the Pay Board on 24 September and 16 November 1973
which was asked to recommend an immediate independent inquiry into nurses' pay because 'at present, many trained nurses — including some ward sisters — have take home pay of less than 60p per hour; less than the take home pay of some women workers in factories and of many women in secretarial and clerical jobs.'

The Pay Board 'should look at whether these levels of pay accurately reflect the responsibilities carried out by nurses and midwives.'

The Pay Board was told that the inquiry should be a broad-ranging one comparing salaries both in and outside the NHS; 'the top of the scale for a ward sister (£1.947) attained after eight years is about the same as the starting salary of the most junior house officer (£1,914)' and 'even the most casual empiricism suggests that this is not a fair reflection of relative responsibilities'. In community nursing 'there should be comparisons between the attached nurse and the general practitioner'. The evidence went on to argue the case in terms of fairness and manpower difficulties, including those caused by agency nurses and night-staff shortages. There was no effective way to discuss manpower within Whitley and as a result 'all the pressures in nursing have been towards dealing with manpower problems by means other than raising pay'.

The Department of Health and Social Security has not produced statistics on manpower shortages for over ten years, but a survey carried out by COHSE's Research Department in September 1973 indicated, on a 10 per cent sample, that the shortage could be as high as 17.3 per cent nationally and as high as 25.2 per cent in Greater London—in other words the nurse in four short. Nationally, this indicated that the NHS required 46,000 full-time and 28,000 part-time nurses.

On 12 December COHSE's National Executive Committee decided unanimously to recommend deregistration under the 1971 Industrial Relations Act and indicated its intention to reaffiliate to the Trades Union Congress and hence reinforce the discussion of NHS problems within the TUC. But within a few days came the worst blow of all. On 17 December the Government announced cuts in public expenditure which would remove £69 million from the capital building budget and £42 million from the current expenditure budget within the NHS. Building contracts of long-overdue hospital development were frozen, decorations postponed and staff replacement trimmed. The effect on morale was dramatic and in many respects, this was the final blow.

In February 1974, COHSE, as the main NHS union, ran a recruiting campaign for nurses. Albert Spanswick, by this time General Secretary-Elect, argued in the union journal: 'unions have a reputation of getting things done' and that 'COHSE is determined to fight'. He was also able to report that the balance between psychiatric and general nurse members in COHSE was evening out.

The recruitment returns for this period showed a marked increase and were about 73 per cent up on the previous month, at 6,087 compared with 3,509.

In the run-up to the February General Election, a Phase Three settlement was forced on the Staff Side which feared yet another total pay-freeze. Pay below £1,671 per annum was increased by £117 and that over £1,671 by 7 per cent, effective from 1 April 1974. An 'unsocial hours' agreement, and a threshold agreement were introduced, stand-by, on-call, and long-service payments increased, and some minor adjustments to annual leave were made. In addition, A and B scales were introduced, one to be used for plain-time calculations and the other for enhancement calculation. The net effect was to make calculations and checks more difficult and pay-slips harder to understand.

The Prime Minister called the General Election on 7 February and during the course of that campaign, several Conservative speakers and election broadcasts presented nurses as having quite happily accepted their Phase Three increase — in other words, as model acceptors of Government policy. COHSE was quick to release strongly worded statements emphasising the contrary, and that agreements were made under duress.

After polling on general election day, 28 February 1974, the incoming Labour Minority Government took office on 4 March. Mrs Barbara Castle was appointed Secretary of State for Social Services, and Mr Michael Foot, Secretary of State for Employment. Shortly afterwards, Mr Foot stated in the House of Commons that an independent inquiry for nurses' pay could not at that stage be set up. The new Government had quite rightly taken immediate steps to solve the miners' dispute which had precipitated the February General Election, but strong feelings of protest and grievance were spreading rapidly amongst most of Britain's nurses, too. After all, pay had been low two years previously when the revaluation claim was first put in; earnings had fallen behind during statutory incomes policy, and morale had suffered several major blows — the last of which was the cut in NHS budgets, budgets which many already thought chronically under- financed. Now, with the announcement that there would be no reference under the relativities procedure, there seemed no longer to be any hope.

Michael Foot's announcement was followed by a quick succession of events:

London Health workers Coordinating Committee 1988

The London Healthworker Edition 1 Front page April 1988

Bulletin of London Healthworkers Committee


Time To Link Up


The Royal Free Hospital Joint Shop Stewards Committee welcomes the formation of the London Health workers Coordinating Committee, which has arisen from the body which played a major part in making the one-day strikes on February 3 and March 14, 1988 as successful as they were. .

We have already already elected 3 delegates to the Committee, who will represent the views of and report back to our JSSC.

For a long time, we have felt the need for some sort of body to link trade unionists across London 's hospitals. It is fitting that London Health Emergency, who have always taken a similar view, should agree to produce this bulletin for us (as long as we pay for materials) .

With the help of this bulletin we hope it will be possible to sustain and gradually develop the LHCC so that when the mood of militancy begins again to grow amongst health workers we shall be in a position to provide a lead which will unite all health workers and not divide them.

If we are to achieve this aim, however, we must not only be well organised, but we should also have a very clear sense of our objectives.

In February and March the campaign was centred around one umbrella demand to "defend the NHS". This clearly has its limitations, and we need to adopt more specific demands in order not only to make it clear what we are fighting for, but to try to overcome the present tendency towards sectionalism - between different unions, between different staff groups and between different areas of the country.

The following provides a possible starting point for discussion:

* A basic minimum wage of, say, £140 take home per week for all hospital

workers, including student nurses.

* A certain number of new hospitals to be built in each Region, depending on the length of waiting lists.

* No NHS acute bed to be closed before waiting lists have been abolished.

* An increase in funding for the NHS of 5% per year over and above hospital

inflation.

* An end to all charges for prescriptions, eye-tests and dental care, etc.

* The ejection of all private contractors from the NHS and an end to Competitive Tendering.

* All private beds in NHS hospitals to be made public.

Should such a "charter" of demands be adopted by the LHCC, after full

discussion amongst trade unionists within London's hospitals, we would have

made great progress.

We could organise joint campaigns around the various demands. Going to

support a march in some other part of London over a hospital closure would

perhaps be less seen as a vague sense of duty to show solidarity with somebody else's campaign, and more as a fight for the demands of OUR

charter, which pledges us to fight the closure of any NHS acute hospital bed.

For all these reasons, many of us believe that high on the agenda of the new London Healthworkers Coordinating Committee should be a discussion on the adoption of such a set of demands.

ANDREW PHILLIPS,

Chair, Royal Free Hospital Joint shop Steward Committee

London Health workers Coordinating Committee established as a rank and file stewards group during the 1988 dispute, by stewards at Royal free Hospital and Maudsley Hospital Steering Committee: Andrew Phillips, Gayle Adams, Camilla Crivello, John Speakman, David Esterson, John Kaufman, Hal Satterwhite

Note: Probably established 3rd February 1988

NUPE, COHSE,NALGO,MPU,MSF

London Joint Stewards Committee NHS

LONDON .JOINT STEWARDS COMMITTEE NHS
Held 14th October 1980

OCTOBER MEETING (Minutes)

At the meeting held at the Prince Albert Pub,London, N1.

It was noted that Mr. Cart Brecker spoke on the history of the old the previous attempts to establish a NHS stewards committees in London A.L.H.S.C., A.K.A. and CLASH.

Carl made the point that 'CLASH' was built up as a support to the campaigns to save the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson. & Hounslow Hospitals in 1977 'and that as these campaigns came to an end for one reason or another, so did CLASH' as it lost Its main purpose.

Points were raised by Carl on the difficulties of stewards, their Committees, or any other 'Militant/Interested Individual to attend meetings give support to,or get involved.

Carl went on to emphersize the 'systematic victimizations’ which eventually led to dismissal, of popular activists in the London Health Service.

Kate Truscott (Fightback) pointed out the importance of 'other Stewards' and area Committee Trade Union to get to other-Area Stewards' meetings 'to organize Effective', Ms. Truscott spoke about the anti-closure campaigns that are in London, and the importance of 'Mobilizing staff against the closures, and that the Fightback organization has been concerned with - this over the last three years.

Conway Xavier (N.U.P.E/CP.) Great.Ormand St.Hospital. Didn’t agree with Ms. Truscott on last point. He spoke of uncertain it is to ‘call people’ on the phone for support, in order to get organized.'. He agrees with 'Hospital Worker', but said 'not quite sure about setting up a L.J. S.C. on the same basis as C.L.A.S.H. .with much 'success'. Conway spoke of N.U.P.E. Area Committee & St. Benedict’s he said 'If any Shop Stewards. committee is to survive, all stewards must have immediate contact with others for instant support, or it could fall' also 'and to encourage all shop stewards to organize more to get support'.

Chris Rooney (Hospital Worker) spoke of Hospital Worker, how its built, the next issue of Hospital Worker and the National Committee Meeting.

A point was raised about the difficulties of drawing members to take action.

An E.G.A Steward spoke of what the 'ordinary' shop steward dose in his/her time and why it is difficult to 'persuade' them to get organized in 'this type of committee’, also of the important work at home (i.e) Workplace problems etc, and of the feelings members might build up towards their shop stewards for neglecting local problems and members.

In the chair lan Crinson followed on to emphasize the trade-union 'Bureaucracy' and the let-downs, and of why these Committees in the past have failed. He also made the point of the importance of stewards to keep 'local matters' Priority.

Various points were raised out of the latter two' one being about stewards who are blocked and or attacked by both the Trade Union Bureaucracy and their stewards committees.

Items then tabled.

(1) Stewards role at home.

(2) Grass roots membership

Conway Xavier spoke of the basic reason why people join T.U. bodies, he also added most hospitals haven’t got the support for Stewards Committee's from members because of the lack of 'credibilities' of the committee.

Conway voiced his concern over the interference by the socialist workers Party and International Marxist group in the past and present committees and for this committee to be effective they should be got rid of.

The first point was clearly agreeable, but the second point was not (all round) agreedable…..

Opinions were raised out of the last points and also that of a committee 'with practical aims'.

The S.E.R.T.U..C, month of action was tabled, i.e. what’s going, to happen ?also could this committee use the "picket" laws that were 'used at St.Benedicts to make a first step.

Candy Udwin (Fightback/SWP) Pointed out that we as a committee' should look

for 'what we should and could do in "the short and long term basis and how careful we must be on 'how we plan The Committee'.

There followed a gen-discussion on:

1.) Faults with Unions.

2.) Caution on the A.L.S.C.

3.) How strong are we at home, i.e. our Hospital workplaces e.t.c.

Out of the discussion's the feeling all round was that it is Crucial to set up Committee's like this 'in order to 'link-up' with isolated Hospitals, and inperticular, stewards committee's with much weakness.

It was agreed that,

*1. Stewards Committees must have support for the important role they will play in order to 'Slide into politics.

*2.'Area Stewards Committees it is equally important for joint action meetings to fight & to discuss politics.

*3.Stage by stage-from grass roots members to 'all Hospital workers-shop stewards, to mobilize a –fightback against the ' REORGANIZATION of the Health Service.

A proposal was tabled- to agree to set up another meeting with shop stewards and interested parties/individuals' to talk of a plan to go forward to fight for a better Health Service......

It was also agreed that a link-up of just 'ancillary 'workers will cause a split in support/loyalty,and that pulling together the whole Hospital workers 'force or grades e.t.c. is important.

The chair's summing up:

General summing up

1) Also to establish a system of contact.

2) The exchange of information from branch to branch by way of minutes

3) To organize visits to Hospitals from this committee for support on any issue, not just cuts campaigns.

FINANCE ££££

It was agreed to send off information to B.D.C.s and to ask for

donations ..

THE NEXT MEETING WILL BE ON 25th NOVEHBER, at 7p.m.

L.J.S.C. Oct.1980

P.S, The next minutes may not be as detailed....?

23 people attended the meeting

NOTE:

London Alliance of Stewards for Health workers (LASH) established in 1972 primerily around the Ancillay Workers pay dispute. Magazine called ‘Backlash’ called for a one day stoppage on 27th Novemeber 1972

All London Health Workers Alliance (ALHWA) an informal rank and file group

CLASH Combine London

Hospital Worker established at a meeting in Birmingham of forty health activists, but under the broad control of the SWP

London Health Workers Co ordinating Committee established as a rank and file stewards group during the 1988 dispute, by stewards at Royal free Hospital and Maudsley Hospital Steering Committee: Andrew Phillips, Gayle Adams, Camilla Crivello, John Speakman, David Esterson, John Kaufman, Hal Satterthwhite

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Guild of Nurses Rally November 1939

Persecutions Drive Nurses to revolt

Daily Mirror 17th November 1939

TRAINED nurses are in revolt. They are leaving their profession in hundreds rather than put up with the petty persecutions, the hardships and injustices they are being made to suffer.

Women whose skilled work is vital to the country in war are going as shop and on to the land.

These allegations were made at a meeting called by the NUCO, Guild of Nurses in London yesterday (16th November 1939) by Mr. Reginald Ruttledge, an official of the NUCO Guild of Nurses.

" When the men have gone to France and they need women bus conductors we shall see nurses doing this work," he said.

The nurses' two main grievances are:


(1) The way in which non-resident trained staff in London County Council hospitals are being forced to become resident with a considerable reduction in salary; and

(2) The growing unemployment among trained nurses which is largely the result of evacuation and is being aggravated by the fact that members of the Auxiliary Nursing Service are replacing trained nurses in the hospitals.


Mr. George Vincent Evans, general secretary of the NUCO, pointed out that a non-resident nurse might be receiving a wage of £180 per annum. When she became resident her wage dropped to £80 or £90, dependent on service.
Reductions lor superannuation also took a further toll

This was causing exceptional hardship among nurses who were having to pay the rents of their flats or were obliged to store their furniture. The London County Council had refused to undertake the responsibility for the storage of furniture or for the payment of rent of flats or rooms.

Mr. Miller, Secretary of the London District Nursing Association, protested against the way in which trained nurses were being re-placed by auxiliary nurses.

" We shall find," he said, " that the trained nurses who are now being Ignored will be called upon to attend the auxiliary nurses who will be suffering from shock." (Laughter.)

Training Stopped


Young probationers' training had stopped as a result of the war, it was stated. Many had been drafted to new hospitals out of
London, where there were only about half- a-dozen patients and no sister tutors.

Condemning the low salaries of trained nurses. Nurse Askey said that two men at her first aid post who had tailed in their examination were nevertheless receiving £2, 18s. 6d., the salary which she, as a trained nurse, was recieving

A resolution vas carried expressing "profound resentment" at the indifferent manner in which trained nurses, nurses in training and assistant nurses were being treated. :

A special committee of registered nurses was appointed by the committee to consider what further steps should be taken, and to arrange a deputation to the Minister of Health.

Daily Mirror 17th November 1939

Unemployed Nurses Delegation Dec 1939

MINISTRY OF HEALTH

Deputation from Nursing Organisations 12th December 1939

Miss Florence Horsbrugh, Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health, today received, a deputation representing the Guild of Nurses, the Association of Nurses, the National Federation of Nursing Associations, the British College of Nurses and the Mental Hospital and Institutional Workers' Union.

The deputation was introduced by Mr. George Vincent Evans and the chief spokesmen were Miss Thora Silverthorne (General Secretary of the Association of Nurses), Miss M. S. Cochrane, Miss M. Yorke and Mr. C.F. Comer.

They expressed their grave concern at the amount of unemployment among State registered nurses and suggested that one of the main causes was the substitution of nursing auxiliaries from the Civil Nursing Reserve, for fully qualified nurses in hospitals coming within the emergency medical scheme of the Ministry of Health.

They also drew attention to the fact that many hospitals were now enforcing residence on nurses who had previously lived outside the hospital and that this was leading to great discontent and also to resignations. In addition they alleged that transfers to and from hospitals had been carried out in an unreasonable manner. Extension of working hours was given as another cause of unemployment.

The deputation feared that these measures would result in the professional status of the nurse being lowered and suggested that a Committee of Nurses should be appointed to give advice from the nurse's point of view

Replying, Miss Horsbrugh thanked the deputation for coming to state their case. The Minister of Health was particularly anxious that there should be no misunderstandings or sense of grievance among a body so important to "the well-being of the nation at the present time as members of the nursing profession.