Physiotherapist strike in Birmingham, Photo Nick Hart
Physiotherapist strike in Birmingham, Photo Nick Hart


“Never been on strike before, wasn’t sure what it would be like, but I’ve never seen so many physios in the same place at the same time as on this picket line!”

Most of the physiotherapists at Rotherham hospital had not been on strike before. The steward for the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists (CSP) had been worried that only he and the regional officer would be on the picket line, so was over the moon with nearly 60 of the 90-odd CPS members turning out. And they were bowled over by the support from NHS colleagues, especially passing ambulances, and from the public.

Physios at City Hospital, Birmingham, said: “Notice how it’s all the key workers going on strike – we were the ones who kept things running during the pandemic, not the bankers!”

“We’re not just striking for ourselves, but for people coming into the profession.”

“I only qualified last month, but if I don’t take a stand now this is going to affect me for the next 40 years”.

Ambulance workers

Socialist Party members in West Yorkshire visited Unison picket lines at the Wakefield ambulance station, Richmond Hill ambulance station in Leeds, and the Yorkshire Ambulance Service headquarters.

There was growing anger at the Tory government’s failure to grasp the crisis in the NHS and are lurching from scandal to scandal. A photo of pickets in Maltby, near Rotherham, with a handmade banner saying: “Rishi – we’ll belt up when you pay up” – referring to Sunak’s fine for not wearing his seat belt, was doing the rounds on the strikers’ WhatsApp.

Pickets told us their horror stories of waiting times at hospitals: just the week before, one striker had done a 12-hour shift before having to wait an extra four hours at a hospital to hand over a patient. Others talked about a crew that arrived at a hospital in the morning only to hand over the patient in the evening!

There was optimism that, with RCN nurses and GMB ambulance workers’ strikes coinciding on 6 February, all NHS workers could strike together in the near future.


The RCN picket line at the Christie Hospital in Manchester was very well attended during both days of the latest strike action. Despite the snowy weather, nursing staff stood resolutely for fair pay and safe staffing, cheered on by colleagues coming out on their breaks and passers-by shouting messages of support. Multiple nurses told us that, while the Tories’ treatment of them has been utterly insulting, they fear a Labour government under Starmer may not do much better. Our strike bulletins were received warmly and the suggestion of standing anti-austerity, pro-working class candidates was greeted with enthusiasm.