Liverpool picket line, photo Liverpool SP
Liverpool picket line, photo Liverpool SP

Strikers say: Coordinate the dates!

Striking NHS worker in Liverpool

Like the rest of the country, the NHS in Liverpool is in dire straits.

Patients were “at risk of harm” in the emergency department at Aintree hospital, according to a report by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in October 2022.

The same report also concluded that Aintree’s emergency department had exceeded its capacity and that patients were being treated on corridors. This also rings true for the newly opened Royal Liverpool Hospital. Patients line the corridors of A&E with some waiting up to two days for a bed. The new hospital has 45 less beds than the old one, which also had problems with overcrowding.

The CQC report stated that staff treat patients with compassion and kindness but recognised the challenge to free up beds while not being able to discharge patients due to insufficient social care or community support. Nursing staff are overworked, underpaid and put under immense pressure due to the huge lack of staff. Many have left or are on long-term sickness due to the pressures of working through the Covid-19 pandemic and stress in general.

NHS staff are striking over pay, but also as part of the fight for the NHS as a whole. Decades of deliberate underfunding and mismanagement have led us to this crisis. We have been left with no other choice but to go on strike, to fight for the pay rise we deserve. An above-inflation rise would help stop the flood of workers leaving and start to attract new workers into the NHS.

In Liverpool, this winter has seen Unison, RCN and GMB members take industrial action. Staff have felt pressured into crossing each others picket lines as the different unions have gone out on different dates. One recurring talking point in the workplace and on the picket line is why aren’t the unions coordinating strike dates?

That’s why the 6 February strikes, involving Nurses in RCN alongside ambulance workers, is a big step forward.

The workforce has the appetite to fight. We are fighting to make sure that the union leaders show the same determination!