Hospital workers claim they are "presence not picket line"
Striking Kingston Hospital workers claim they are a presence not a picket line as they protest over changes to public sector pensions.
Ros Sainsbury, 51, from New Malden, works at the pathology laboratory at Kingston Hospital and has never been involved in a strike before.
She said: "People have been here since 7am and we hope to stay until 6pm.
“We are a presence rather than a picket line - we are not stopping anybody from going in.
“People are going round the wards and handing out stickers to support hospital workers."
Philippa Sawtell, steward representative of Chartered Society of Physiotherapy at Kingston Hospital, said her employers had been quite supportive and the protestors had received “a lot of beeps” from passing motorists.
She said: “The last thing we want to do is cause inconvenience to patients. As physios we work so hard every day for our patients to make them better.
"We are very careful to make sure patients who are elderly or vulnerable are being looked after. The only services not being covered are non emergency.
"A major, major concern of ours is working to the age of 68.
“Many physiotherapists and nurses can't physically work to that age because of the physical nature of the job. That's what we are concerned they have not negotiated on yet."
Meanwhile outside Kingston University, protestors are also gathering.
Kingston council social worker Lois Barlow said: “A good pension is one of the things that attract people to work in the public sector.
"Nurses and social workers like myself provide people essential services that treat people at their most vulnerable.
"It is not an easy job to do and anyone who works in the private sector can have our pensions and our jobs.
"We chose these professions and they are taking advantage of that.”
Kingston Unison worker Sampson Low said the Government was deliberately trying to cause friction between public and private sector workers.
He said: "Many of our families work in the private sector and it’s their pensions as well that need to be sorted out.”
If you are taking part in industrial action, tell us what you are doing and send your photos to firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet us @SurreyComet using #KingstonStrikes or comment on our website.
Likewise, please contact us if you are affected by any disruption.