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From The Socialist newspaper, 13 July 2020

15% now - unions must fight for NHS pay rise

Demanding a 15% pay rise for NHS workers, 8th August 2020, London, photo Sarah SE

Demanding a 15% pay rise for NHS workers, 8th August 2020, London, photo Sarah SE   (Click to enlarge)

Maggie Fricker, NHS worker, Southampton Socialist Party

NHS workers need a pay rise now. And we need our unions to launch a real fight for it.

I've been at my hospital trust for over 20 years and I'm proud to call myself a health worker. Every day I see workmates witness trauma and tragedy and keep going.

Many of my colleagues are young and just starting out - they are newly qualified, new to post, or new to the country. They have the pressures of learning a new job and making a good impression at work, while trying to find affordable accommodation and pay the bills.

At the best of times it's a struggle. But in the last months, health workers have been hit square in the face with this life-changing pandemic.

The responsibility on so many of our shoulders has taken its toll, and the scares are very real. Workers in our communities have shown their appreciation - they have clapped us, and at times they have fed us.


We've continued coming to work - despite the fear, the inadequate PPE, the long hours and the constantly changing rules. I could not be more proud of those I work with - but we are not angels.

We are angry at the stupidity of this government, and the greed and incompetence of the private hospitals and contractors we have to work with. So it's time for us to turn that anger into action.

Our union leaders are well aware that we are bitter over the poor pay deal they made three years ago, which this year left us with a below-inflation pay rise. It's high time for them to listen to the grassroots. Put a figure on it - demand 15% now!

We need to make our voices heard, take to the streets, be seen, and support the day of action on Saturday 12 September. But this is only the beginning of this struggle.

It's very clear the Tories are not listening. If we want decent pay and conditions and full funding, NHS workers need to take strike action. I believe we are ready for it.

We must now demand the health unions organise a strike ballot. It's time we hit the Tories back. If we back down on this fight, it will be a green light to speed up the wholesale sell-off of what remains of the services we hold dear.

The Socialist Party demands:

I will be campaigning for Unison to call mass action for fully funded pay rises now. I have proposed to the union's health service group executive that they should be considering a 15% pay claim. The leadership should also be calling the other health unions to try to agree a joint claim. And Unison should instruct branches to start preparing the ground for a strike ballot to win the claim. NHS workers have had enough, and need their union to lead the fight!

Hugo Pierre, Unison national executive council (personal capacity) and Socialist Party member

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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 13 July 2020:

Coronavirus news

Fight the schools Covid crisis

Safety overridden in drive to bolster the economy

Caerphilly lockdown puts profits before safety

Under the microscope

Campaigns and party news

Jobs, training, pay, we want a future!

Dover: Solidarity with refugees - applause and cheers for socialist ideas to unite working class

BLM: Socialist alternative to racist capitalism

Big push to hit finance target


15% now - unions must fight for NHS pay rise

Callous Tories threaten not to uprate the minimum wage

XR blockade: Don't let the Tories criminalise protest

Grenfell fire inquiry stops victims attending

Video game developer attacks Black Lives Matter

What we think

U-turn Tories' splits are growing

Workplace news

Fight Amazon's anti-union spies

NSSN rally: Workers must not pay the price of Covid

Nottingham City Council: The (mis)adventures of Robin Hood Energy

Covid-19 pandemic increases financial pressures on Welsh local government

Ireland: Debenham's workers occupy stores

Hull: Defend Tony Smith!

Reinstate Richie Venton


A critical election for Unison general secretary


Back at work! TUSC to stand in elections again against pro-austerity politicians

International news

Belarus: Mass opposition continues to defy repression by Lukashenko's regime

Strike wave marks new stage in revival of Iranian workers' movement


Home   |   The Socialist 13 July 2020   |   Join the Socialist Party

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Related links:


trianglePPE contracts: It pays to have friends in high places

triangleStop the Tories putting profit before health

triangleSelling the Socialist

triangleStop Leicester hospital closure

triangleBirmingham NHS porters' 48-hour strike against shift changes


triangleWomen workers need strong trade unions to defend their jobs, pay and services

triangleTory U-turn: Furlough extended - not enough to save jobs

triangleCorbyn suspended - Time to fight for a new mass workers' party

triangleWhy the Socialist Party is backing Hugo Pierre for Unison general secretary


triangleHeathrow workers to strike against 'fire and rehire' plans

triangleCovid crisis: "We won't pay the price"

triangleHugo Pierre, a candidate in Unison's general secretary election, speaking at Socialism 2020, 21st November 2020


triangleYoung Socialists organising for our future

triangleOptare: Right to strike defended


triangleCovid, vaccines, 'big pharma' - and the need for socialism

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