[First published on our website: 1 February 2006]
The Royal Sussex County in Brighton is the hospital that many services will be centralised to, as the NHS on the south coast is butchered. But it has had the loss of 10 per cent of its workforce hanging over it for months.
The planned compulsory redundancies have been put off until the summer, although shrinking the number of agency workers and the use of 'natural wastage' continues. But this has not stopped the workers' organisations in the hospital coming under attack.
In the last week two GMB reps were frog-marched off site by security, having been informed they were the first compulsory redundancies. These long-standing trade unionists had to sneak back in later to inform their colleagues of what was going on.
The GMB branch at the hospital has begun the process to ballot for strike action to combat this clear case of victimisation. Staff morale is at an all-time low and their confidence will have to built up if these attacks and the job losses are going to be stopped.
Brighton Socialist Party, through its active involvement in the local Keep Our NHS Public group, will be building local events to support the union and health workers. What is also needed is a national demonstration against the destruction of the NHS that would show these workers that they are not alone. A date for a national protest must be named soon.