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From The Socialist newspaper, 9 June 2021

We're building for 3 July NHS protests

Demanding a 15% pay rise for NHS workers, 8th August 2020, Manchester, photo Sally G

Demanding a 15% pay rise for NHS workers, 8th August 2020, Manchester, photo Sally G   (Click to enlarge)

Waltham Forest: Burnt out but fighting back

Len Hockey, Unite Bart's health branch secretary (personal capacity)

Burnout among NHS workers - evident before the pandemic and greatly exacerbated during it - underlines the urgency for the national leaderships of the health unions to link up a coordinated response, including strike action. This could answer the crisis, and take on this weak government.

Recently, in Waltham Forest, I moved a motion (see below) to the trades council, the body that coordinates the unions in the borough. That won support for a Waltham Forest trades council-led demo on 3 July at the main gate at Whipps Cross hospital, in support of a 15% pay increase for NHS workers, as well as outsourced workers employed by Serco at the hospital working as cleaners, porters, caterers, reception and security guards.

3 July will see a countrywide expression of anger and frustration at the accelerated undermining of health services under the Tories - five million now on waiting lists, huge staff shortages, and workers continuing to leave the service due to falling real pay and deteriorating working conditions, linked directly to lack of funding.

All this threatens to undermine the right to free healthcare that the working class won at the founding of the NHS in 1948. Whipps Cross workers have a history of fighting and winning against the effects of privatisation.

Strike action, with the solidarity of the wider community and workers' movement, can not only secure the 15% pay increase we deserve, but also prepare the ground for future socialist struggle for a massively expanded, democratically controlled and adequately resourced socialist NHS, including nationalising big pharma and the medical supply industry.


Pass this motion in your local union

We give full support to the National Health Service and NHS workers. We condemn the derisory pay offer from the Tory government to NHS staff, and agree to support any campaign from NHS unions for a substantial increase in pay within the NHS. This should apply to all NHS workers, including outsourced staff who should be brought in-house to work directly for the health service on NHS pay, pensions, terms and conditions

We also condemn the Tory government's public sector pay freeze and the employers' 'fire and rehire' strategy. We call on all relevant unions to campaign in preparation for national coordinated strike action to end the pay freeze and the attempts to lower wages and conditions

We call on our national union to work with other unions to call a national demonstration to properly fund the NHS and end privatisation

'Health Campaigns Together', 'Keep Our NHS Public', 'NHS Workers Say No', and 'NHS Staff Voices' have called for demonstrations and rallies on Saturday 3 July 2021. We agree to play a role in building for a rally and demonstration in ... and call on all shop stewards, members, delegates and affiliates to support it


Basildon: Strike action must come next

Dave Murray

Health workers and their supporters in Essex are planning to mark the NHS birthday by taking to the streets for pay justice. With over 100,000 unfilled job vacancies in the health service, alongside the campaign against cuts and privatisation, this is a fight for the survival of the NHS.

Local nurses and health workers plan to march from Basildon Hospital to the town centre, building on the success of a demonstration organised by nurses in mid and south Essex NHS last August.

We're promoting the 3 July event by leafleting hospitals, and the trades union council is calling on trade unionists to back the demonstration and turn out. We are certainly promoting the event on our local Socialist Party campaign stalls.

We will hear speakers from the Royal College of Nursing in Essex and representatives from the Thurrock refuse workers, who recently scored a win against their employer over pay cuts (see socialistparty.org.uk).

All of us involved in building for the demonstration are very clear that this event must be just the beginning of a determined fight on pay, and that in the end this will mean industrial action. Already we are planning for the next - this is likely to be a motorcade.

Last summer's pay campaign was cut across by the return of lockdown. 3 July is our chance to reignite last year's spirited and well-supported campaign, and take it to the next level.


Barry: Anger at Labour's Tory cuts

John Williams

Now that lockdown is lifting, the Socialist Party campaign stalls in Barry in south Wales - calling for a 15% pay increase for NHS workers - have restarted. The response has been really good. We've spoken to health and care workers who are outraged over the proposed 1% pay 'rise', and agree with us that the Welsh government could have done more to resist the cuts from Westminster.

Everyone has their own stories about how the NHS has helped them. It's clear that many still see the NHS as a proud tradition of their lives. And there is a mood to fight for it. "We need our own party. Now I agree with that", was the response from one local resident.

One NHS worker told us horror stories of hospitals so under-resourced that rooms were left unlit, and nurses transformed into 'jailors' by understaffing on mental health wards.

Many Barry residents still remember the shameful attempt by the Welsh Labour government to shut down the local Sam Davies ward, that thankfully was saved by a campaign led by health workers in Unison, which the Socialist Party supported. Closures like this left our NHS ill-prepared to deal with Covid.

This behaviour from the Welsh government isn't surprising. At the height of austerity it passed on 1 billion worth of Tory cuts to the Welsh NHS.

Current Wales First Minister Mark Drakeford was health minister while that brutal austerity campaign was carried out. There's anger at the Welsh government for doing the Tories' dirty work.

Barry Socialist Party member Kevin Gillen stood for the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) in the Welsh Parliament election in May. As a result, we picked up a list of supporters and potential members for the Socialist Party. One has joined already.

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Finance appeal

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.

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In The Socialist 9 June 2021:


News

G7 tax deal won't challenge corporate power

Dea-John Reid murder: Jobs, homes and services, not racism

Tory school catch-up plan: Fight for the funding our schools and colleges need

Post-Brexit trade deals: Workers' mobilisation needed to stop corporate extortion

G7 green hypocrisy

New book - coming soon: The Struggle for World Socialism

G7 Can't solve poverty, Covid and climate change - join the struggle for Socialism


What we think

Tory splits and infighting growing


NHS

'Let's fight to win on NHS pay and funding'

We're building for 3 July NHS protests


Workplace news

Goodlord striker speaks out: How we unionised and fought the bosses

Revolt against 'social partnership' at Wales Trades Union Congress 2021

Douwe Egberts workers strike against pay cuts of up to 12,000 a year

London workers prepare to fight Khan's transport cuts

If unions give a lead, workers are fully prepared to fight and win victories

Fight for a socialist leadership in PCS, build a fighting, democratic union!

Workplace news in brief


Lessons from history

The 1971 Upper Clyde Shipbuilders occupation and work-in


Campaigns news

Cladding safety: Protests demand developers and government pay

"Rights are won not given" - London refugee wins housing debt campaign

Hundreds march to scrap Silvertown Tunnel project

Shame on Clarion - another exploitative landlord


Israel/Palestine

Palestinian self-determination - is the solution one state or two?


Readers' opinion

TV review: Mrs Thatcher vs the miners

Readers' Opinion


 

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