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From The Socialist newspaper, 23 September 2020

Second wave

Fund NHS and pay rise now

Demanding a 15% pay rise for NHS workers, 8th August 2020, Manchester, photo Sally G

Demanding a 15% pay rise for NHS workers, 8th August 2020, Manchester, photo Sally G   (Click to enlarge)

Boris Johnson has finally admitted that we are heading into a second Covid wave. NHS workers deserve a pay rise and need more resources to cope.

At least 13 million people are now back under local lockdown, with an R rate as high as 1.4 in some areas. NHS and social care workers are preparing ourselves for a repeat of the last peak, with staff, PPE, and equipment shortages - but all on top of winter pressures and the flu season.

In some hospitals, winter pressure wards have already opened. The Welsh health minister Vaughan Gething has proudly announced 400 beds are opening in Cardiff's biggest hospital in preparation for winter. Unfortunately, hospital staff have been told there won't be extra staff to go with them; they'll be pulled from existing wards which are already short.

If the capitalist establishment learnt anything from the first wave, it's ignoring it. Short-term, media-friendly 'solutions' without substance are all Westminster and the devolved governments are willing to offer us. Health and care workers and our patients will pay the price yet again.

UK health secretary Matt Hancock has said a second national lockdown will be the public's fault. Nothing to do with his government's catalogue of failings, such as the collapsing Covid testing system! NHS workers are still only tested when symptomatic, despite earlier promises we would be tested weekly to protect patients and colleagues.

Capitalism

Capitalism has no way of resolving the economic uncertainty either. A system where hospitals are crying out for more staff while dole queues are lengthening has to go.

Why isn't the government putting emergency funding for training, jobs and facilities in place? Only a socialist system, based on democratic planning and public ownership, could guarantee what's necessary.

Capitalist politicians may be ignoring the lessons of the first wave, but workers are not.

Many NHS workers are organising around the demand for a 15% pay rise, nationally and locally in our own hospitals. This has pushed the unions to adopt bolder pay claims.

NHS workers participating in this campaign have learnt that if we struggle together, we can have an impact. If there are PPE shortages and safety issues again, an immediate fightback would be easier to organise.

The doctors' union BMA is surveying members in preparation for balloting for industrial action over pay. Other health and public sector unions should be following them.

We've learnt that we can't rely on our current governments and many of our current union leaders. Only our collective strength and action will get us through the Covid crisis.

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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.

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In The Socialist 23 September 2020:


Coronavirus news

Tory Covid chaos

North East lockdown: simmering anger at Tory incompetence

Testing shambles: unions must fight back

Johnson's schools social-distancing lie


Schools

Dispatches from the front - chaotic schools are not safe!


Workplace news

A day in the life of a salon worker

Workplace news in brief


News

'FinCEN Files' expose rampant financial corruption: nationalise the banks!

Extend eviction ban! Cap rents! Build council homes!

News in brief


Universities

Covid and the campuses


Why I joined

Why we joined the Socialist Party


Campaigns

Fund NHS and pay rise now

Coventry: Socialist Students is back

Liverpool Council must save care homes

Sussex: Hands off Peacehaven schools

Fighting fund: One week to raise 3,444

The Socialist: More than a newspaper


International news

Thailand: Youth rising against hated junta


Readers' opinion

TV: The English Game - how the working class made football the people's game

The Socialist Inbox


 

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