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From The Socialist newspaper, 14 August 2019

Lincolnshire health workers strike against 2,000 loss of pay

Health visitors on strike in Lincolnshire, 15.7.19, photo Jon Dale

Health visitors on strike in Lincolnshire, 15.7.19, photo Jon Dale   (Click to enlarge)

Jon Dale, secretary, Unite Nottinghamshire Health branch

Health visitors - nurses who specialise in pre-school child development - in Lincolnshire have been on strike for 14 days against the Tory county council. This is probably the first ever health visitors' strike in Britain. 58 Unite the Union members are fighting to save the essential service they provide to young families.

In 2017 they were transferred from the NHS to the council. Although NHS and local authority workers have had (small) pay rises since, the council has frozen health visitors' pay. They have lost over 2,000 a year each.

Children at risk

The council is deskilling specialist experienced health visitors by introducing a split-level service. A 'junior' health visitor role no longer has specialist responsibilities like 'complex safeguarding' of children at risk because of family health and social problems.

This will put young children and families at risk - and risk the smaller number of 'seniors' burning out with stress.

Instead of preventing childhood and family problems, health visitors will be box-ticking or rushing from crisis to crisis.

The council wants the service on the cheap for future privatisation to a profit-making company. What a greedy short-term outlook the Tory council and government have! The number of health visitors nationally has fallen by 25% since 2015. These massive cuts will lead to more health and behaviour problems as children grow up.

On strike days the health visitors have marched through shopping centres across the county with placards and leaflets (except where landlords of privatised public space have barred their way!) Support for these brave and determined workers has come from local people, Unite and other union branches.

Workers have had enough of austerity and applaud those fighting back. It shouldn't be left to one small group to fight alone when workers everywhere face similar problems.

When the Trade Union Congress meets in September it should draw up a plan to bring all workers together with marches and strikes demanding an immediate general election. A Corbyn-led government could reverse the cuts, so these specialist nurses can help young families instead of fighting to save their service.

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In The Socialist 14 August 2019:

What we think

General election looms... Capitalists in chaos: fight for socialism

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Far right seen off at Oxford Circus

After the fire: fight for facilities for all

Hereford and Worcester: stop the fire cuts!

Dundee: young workers meet

Leeds estate residents push back private development


Boot out Boris and all the Tory toffs - fight for socialist policies for the 99% not the 0.1%

Tory bribes don't hide destruction of NHS


TV: Young, British and Depressed - "What is wrong with our society that all these people are feeling this way?"

Historic events

Northern Ireland, August '69: 'Battle of the Bogside' and British troops on the streets

The Peterloo Massacre 1819: When a fearful ruling class tried to crush working-class political aspirations

Workplace news

Fight back against the retail bosses!

Lincolnshire health workers strike against 2,000 loss of pay

Bradford: All-out action to defeat backdoor NHS privatisation

Hull: Karro Food meat processors strike against poverty pay

Equity: reject UK Theatre's pay cut deal

Summer of airline industry strikes against low pay and worsening conditions

Harland and Wolff occupation continues - renationalise to save the shipyard

International socialist news and analysis

Kashmir crisis: Stop the attack on democratic rights

Pro-democracy protests continue to rage in Hong Kong


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