Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/592/7685
Workers' action can stop NHS cuts
THE TORIES' scare tactic, exposing New Labour's threatened 137,000 NHS job cuts to save £20 billion, is sheer hypocrisy. Whichever political party wins the next general election the scenario facing healthworkers will be the same. All the three main establishment parties are offering up a diet of cutbacks, closures, further privatisation, redundancies and pay cuts.
Mick Griffiths, Unison Wakefield and Pontefract branch secretary (personal capacity)
The NHS trade unions have a duty to seriously organise an effective campaign of co-ordinated industrial action in defence of jobs, pay and conditions.
Even before the predicted massive NHS funding cuts some NHS Trusts are already facing financial difficulties are attempting to make the workers pay for these crises. (By coincidence, the proposed £20 billion 'savings' is the same as the cost of the various privatisation schemes in the NHS).
Recently, in Wakefield and Pontefract Hospitals as a result of the new PFI (Private Finance Initiative) hospitals development, management attempted to inflict new jobs on the workforce at lower grades ie less pay.
This was met with determined resistance by the local Unison and Unite branch memberships. A massive 95% of union members voted to support strike action in a consultative ballot.
Despite management's claims that the job changes were contractually set in stone, the ballot result forced them to withdraw all the proposed downgradings.
Unison membership increased significantly during the ballot and the idea of taking collective action has been significantly heightened amongst healthworkers.
Our dispute shows that with a determined union leadership and a determined rank and file, management attempts to attack healthworkers' conditions can be defeated.
In The Socialist 9 September 2009:
War and occupation
Trades Union Congress
Socialist Party workplace news and analysis
Postal workers strike
Marxist analysis: history
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party review