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From The Socialist newspaper, 16 April 2014

Health workers vote to fight government pay cuts

Neil Cafferky
TUC demonstration in Manchester against Tory Party conference 29/09/13 demands Save our NHS, photo Paul Mattsson

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".

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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.

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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


Readers' comments

Hard loads - and a fightback - on the bins

Working on zero-hour contracts

Disgusted at politicians' big business links


 

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