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From: The Socialist issue 1052, 14 August 2019: Boot out Boris And all the Tory toffs - fight for socialist policies for the 99% not the 0.1%

Search site for keywords: Lincolnshire - Workers - Strike - Pay - Health - Council - Children - East Midlands

Lincolnshire health workers strike against 2,000 loss of pay

Health visitors on strike in Lincolnshire, 15.7.19, photo Jon Dale

Health visitors on strike in Lincolnshire, 15.7.19, photo Jon Dale   (Click to enlarge)

Jon Dale, secretary, Unite Nottinghamshire Health branch

Health visitors - nurses who specialise in pre-school child development - in Lincolnshire have been on strike for 14 days against the Tory county council. This is probably the first ever health visitors' strike in Britain. 58 Unite the Union members are fighting to save the essential service they provide to young families.

In 2017 they were transferred from the NHS to the council. Although NHS and local authority workers have had (small) pay rises since, the council has frozen health visitors' pay. They have lost over 2,000 a year each.

Children at risk

The council is deskilling specialist experienced health visitors by introducing a split-level service. A 'junior' health visitor role no longer has specialist responsibilities like 'complex safeguarding' of children at risk because of family health and social problems.

This will put young children and families at risk - and risk the smaller number of 'seniors' burning out with stress.

Instead of preventing childhood and family problems, health visitors will be box-ticking or rushing from crisis to crisis.

The council wants the service on the cheap for future privatisation to a profit-making company. What a greedy short-term outlook the Tory council and government have! The number of health visitors nationally has fallen by 25% since 2015. These massive cuts will lead to more health and behaviour problems as children grow up.

On strike days the health visitors have marched through shopping centres across the county with placards and leaflets (except where landlords of privatised public space have barred their way!) Support for these brave and determined workers has come from local people, Unite and other union branches.

Workers have had enough of austerity and applaud those fighting back. It shouldn't be left to one small group to fight alone when workers everywhere face similar problems.

When the Trade Union Congress meets in September it should draw up a plan to bring all workers together with marches and strikes demanding an immediate general election. A Corbyn-led government could reverse the cuts, so these specialist nurses can help young families instead of fighting to save their service.

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Coronavirus crisis - 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.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • 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 special coronavirus appeal.

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