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Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/10820

Posted on 15 December 2010 at 15:07 GMT

Fight an NHS pay freeze

Last week an article appeared on the Unison Health website from Unison national officer Mike Jackson which announced a "tough choice" Unison members will soon have to make.

The 'difficult decision' he is referring to is an 'offer' from NHS employers to guarantee no compulsory redundancies in England in return for agreeing a freeze in pay and incremental progression for 2 years.

A Yorkshire health worker and Unison member

In reality this is a meaningless offer which would freeze staff pay but would not save a single NHS workers' job. 'Voluntary' redundancies would continue as would forcing staff onto lower pay bands through departmental restructuring.

The end result will still be patient care suffering while thousands of NHS jobs are lost and with the remaining staff having to pick up their workloads. And in return for this so-called deal, NHS staff will have their pay frozen until 2013!

Also the deal only applies to pay bands 1-6 so presumably Trusts would still be able to make workers in bands 7-9 compulsory redundant.

This deal should not even be considered for consultation. It is an abdication of responsibility by Unison's leadership who are clearly unwilling or incapable of organising resistance to the Con-Dems attacks on the NHS.

They have learnt nothing from the experience of the Irish trade unions, whose leaders have cooperated with attacks on their members' living standards in the name of 'partnership', only to face further demands of cutbacks from right-wing politicians and the bosses.

This proposal should be thrown out and treated with the contempt it deserves. NHS workers should not have to pay the price for the bosses' crisis either through job losses or cuts in pay.

We should be joining our brothers and sisters in Spain, France, Portugal and throughout Europe in resisting the bosses' attacks rather than feebly giving up the fight before it has even started.

Every NHS trade unionist should demand that their union rejects this lousy deal and raise the demand for national industrial action against NHS job losses, pay cuts and privatisation.

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