October 30th – A great victory

Malkiat Bilku returns to work at Hillingdon Hospital

After five long years of struggle, the Hillingdon Hospital strikers have finally begun to be offered jobs back at the hospital. On October 30th, 2000, Malkiat Bilku at last returned to Hillingdon Hospital, the Hospital from which she was unfairly dismissed in 1995. To remind supporters of the landmarks in this long and difficult struggle here is a short summary.

October 1995: Hillingdon strike begins after Pall Mall cut wages by £40 a week

May 1998: Hillingdon Strikers beat Pall Mall at Industrial Tribunal and won decision for re-engagement.

July 1999: Hillingdon strikers beat Granada when it appealed against the decision and won maximum compensation.

August 2000: Granada begins to offer jobs to Hillingdon strikers.

October 30, 2000: Malkiat Bilku, leader of Hillingdon strikers, returned to work at Hillingdon Hospital.

Activists in the movement will all surely send their heartfelt greetings to the strikers for achieving what the UNISON leadership and many faint-hearted so-called supporters claimed was “unwinnable”. This success brings joy to the hearts of all low-paid workers, particularly in the hospital service, who have witnessed the enthusiasm and determination of workers like Malkiat, Kamla and Frances in battling against tremendous odds and for a horribly long time, and achieving victory. This example is so important that we must all learn from this struggle as the capitalists seek to shut up workers, make them feel powerless, while business interests close down workplaces, cut back services and try to suffocate the trade-union movement, often with the connivance of trade-union bureaucrats.

All who are told that struggles are “unwinnable” must take on the employers, union leaderships, courts, etc. with the same stubborn resolve that won the Hillingdon Hospital Strikers a proud place in the history of the working-class movement