Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/807/18480
From The Socialist newspaper, 16 April 2014
Health workers vote to fight government pay cuts
Photo Paul Mattsson (Click to enlarge)
Unison health conference has overwhelmingly passed a resolution from the Service Group Executive calling for a strike ballot over pay. The government's pay freeze has meant that 60% of NHS workers will get no pay rise this year, including 70% of nurses.
There was a real mood to fight within the conference. In one particularly emotional speech, a Scottish member said through tears that he was getting phone calls from his daughter saying there's no food in the house. She'd also spotted emails from Wonga and she'd asked him why he was using Wonga: "Aren't Wonga a bad company?"
He asked: What do you tell your daughter when you're so low paid you can't afford to feed the family?
The union hasn't named a date for when the ballot will begin but they are looking at organising a long campaign among the membership. To kick-start the campaign there will be a national day of protest on 5 June across the NHS. This will include lunchtime demos and protests.
Five Socialist Party members spoke in favour of action. Gary Freeman, chair of South Derbyshire Healthcare branch said there should be the widest possible coordination with other unions: "Let's get back what we've lost over two years".
Roger Davey from Wiltshire and Avon said: "The credibility of our trade union is at stake. We have no option but to fight. We're facing a global capitalist crisis and years of austerity and stagnation unless we fight. What will our pay packets look like in ten years if we do not fight?
"There's no future without a struggle. We should seek the widest coordination with other unions and sustained action. We can defeat the government and austerity. That can give hope, not just to our members but to millions of workers in this country."
In a forceful speech, Alan Manley from Tayside insisted: "We must not repeat the mistakes of the pensions' dispute. I don't want to be marched up the hill and marched back down again having lost a day's pay".
- The Unite union also says it will be consulting its 100,000 members in the health service over possible strike action over the Con-Dems' 'divide and rule' pay offer.
Donate to the Socialist Party
Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal
The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.
The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.
The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.
- The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
- Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
- When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.
In The Socialist 16 April 2014:
Socialist Party election campaigning
Help TUSC offer a no-cuts alternative on 22 May
Election appeal: help us make history
More cuts and another resignation in Southampton
Socialist Party news and analysis
Profit vultures out of NHS
Ending MPs' expenses scandal requires socialist change
Con-Dems escalate housing crisis
Tamiflu scandal exposes bloodsucking big pharma
Pit closures: Final act of Tory vandalism
Them & Us
International socialist news and analysis
40 years of the Committee for a Workers' International
India: massive election process could end in turmoil
Socialist Party workplace news
Gains for left on NUT executive
Stop the education catastrophe!
Health workers vote to fight government pay cuts
Strikers shut cinema in battle for living wage
Let down by Welsh Labour
RMT: Put the tube strike back on and escalate
Workplace news in brief
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
Beating Bedroom Tax evictions
NUS conference: sip tea or put up a serious fight?
Goldthorpe: Anger at Thatcher's destruction of mining
Anti-austerity demonstration called in Salford
May Day greetings with the Socialist
Hard loads - and a fightback - on the bins
Working on zero-hour contracts
Disgusted at politicians' big business links
The Socialist 16 April 2014 |
Join the Socialist
| PDF | ebook