Socialist Party
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30 March 2011

Unison health conference: Time for action to defend our jobs, pensions and the NHS!

Adrian O'Malley, Conference delegate, personal capacity

Unison health conference is meeting just a week after the magnificent TUC demonstration in London on 26 March. The vast numbers attending the march showed the determination of working people to defend their public services from the cost cutting, privatising policies of the Con-Dem government.

The speakers at the rally in Hyde Park, including Unison general secretary Dave Prentis warned the government that the march was "just the start" of a mass campaign of opposition to the government. Unison health conference is Unison health activists' chance to lay out our plans for a militant campaign of action to defend the NHS.

The Con-Dems are intent on attacking us on every front. Tens of thousands of jobs are at risk due to so-called 'efficiency savings', and the abolition of Primary Care Trusts and Strategic Health Authorities.

This is a result of billions of pounds of 'efficiency savings' initiated by the previous Labour government and carried on with a vengeance by the Con-Dem coalition.

The government will face enormous opposition from NHS workers, trade unions, and the wider community in trying to implement their programme of cuts and privatisation. Unison must be at the forefront of a campaign of opposition to the government.

The massive mobilisation of health workers for the TUC demo on 26 March showed the desire of our members to resist the Con-Dem attacks.

The march and this conference need to be steps towards a one-day public sector general strike in opposition to all cuts and privatisation.

The Tories may pretend to ignore the marchers in London and the massive support for the demo they had from ordinary Londoners but they could not ignore strike action by millions of public sector workers. The time for talking is over. Now is the time for strike action.