Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1112/31711
From The Socialist newspaper, 2 December 2020
NHS: Underfunded, understaffed, underpaid
We demand action now
Demanding a 15% pay rise for NHS workers, 8th August 2020 (Click to enlarge)
Maggie Fricker, NHS worker, Southampton Socialist Party
Everyone on shift feels the Tories have been an unmitigated disaster in their handling of the pandemic, whatever they voted in the general election.
"No shit Sherlock" was the response to Chancellor Rishi Sunak's 'our health emergency is not yet over' statement. What an understatement! We are beyond angry with the Tories. Extra money? Do they think we are stupid? What they are promising us is a drop in the ocean compared to the eyewatering sums they have handed out to their big business friends for substandard PPE and the like.
They keep telling us lockdown and greater restrictions are to help the NHS, but they never ask us what we need. We don't have the resources to make even a tiny dent in waiting lists.
Unlike Tory nominees who clearly have no expertise to run track-and-trace, or organise distribution of the vaccine, it takes at least three years to train nurses and other health professionals. And it is staff that we are desperately short of. Many of us fear seeing our families at Christmas - we know what Covid looks like and, even if we don't get it badly, we just can't cope with large-scale sickness come January.
It's pretty obvious that the Tories hope we'll accept a tiny pay rise, because no one else is getting one. And it doesn't help that the chair of the NHS unions, Sara Gorton, begs Boris Johnson to "show he has a heart with a pay rise before Christmas". We stand together with all key workers, not to beg but to demand action to secure the pay rise we all deserve.
The Socialist Party demands:
- An immediate 15% pay rise for all health and care staff, including those in privatised sectors. A minimum wage of £12 an hour - £15 in London. Scrap zero-hour contracts immediately
- Reverse all privatisation and cancel PFI debts. For a fully nationalised and publicly funded NHS and social care sector, with full collective bargaining and national terms and conditions
- For a mass hiring programme. Bring outsourced workers back in-house and on a permanent contract. Reinstate student bursaries, and scrap all tuition fees and debts
- Scrap prescription charges in England, dental charges and all health charges
- A socialist NHS - democratically run by elected and accountable committees, including service workers and users
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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.
The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.
The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.
- The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
- When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our Fighting Fund.
In The Socialist 2 December 2020:
What we think
Spending Review. Unions must resist return to austerity
What will the spending review mean for me?
Napo kickstarts fight against pay freeze
Better for billionaires. Worse for workers
Arcadia and Debenhams closures: Nationalise to save jobs and pensions
Scotland: Campaign wins end to period poverty
NHS: Underfunded, understaffed, underpaid
News in brief
Where is devolution heading?
Don't let the festive season be one of misery for retail workers
Equity union conference calls for radical change - now lead a fight!
Solidarity with Brighton UCU strike - we won't pay for Covid crisis
East London teachers strike in support of victimised union rep
Heathrow workers strike against 'fire and rehire' plans
Hackney: Stop plan to halve school support staff!
Pay freeze protest Homerton Hospital
Unison general secretary ballot closes
'Building back greener' - yet more Tory greenwash
Conflict in Ethiopia: ethnic-linguistic divisions are the historical product of capitalist inequality
Review: Friedrich Engels - Condition of the working class in England
Socialism 2020 feedback
Wales TUSC plans to mount an electoral challenge
Rent strikers' victory in Manchester student halls
Labour meeting lets MP get away with 'Spycops' abstention
Selling the Socialist
Fighting fund target smashed!
TV: The Social Dilemma
Fast fashion, big profits, low pay
Diego Maradona - Working-class rebel, football genius
The Socialist 2 December 2020 |
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