Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1106/31524
Furious and Fighting
For a 15% pay rise - For a fully funded NHS
Failed by a Covid testing catastrophe. Left to face the pandemic in underfunded, understaffed hospitals. NHS staff have been handed a real-terms pay cut, by the same Tory MPs that have given themselves a pay rise. As hospital admissions rise in the developing second wave, it is vital more than ever that we fight for a fully funded and fully public NHS.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the government has handed out billions to private companies making a profit from the health service. A mass recruitment campaign is needed, with workers employed in-house and with a substantial pay rise. NHS workers are furious and fighting back, organising with their trade unions, and with the support of their communities and Socialist Party campaigners.
Xylina Hogan has been campaigning with Suffolk NHS Pay Justice Hub
We were all angered by the news that MPs would be due a pay rise of over £3,000, while NHS staff are left with nothing but claps. These claps soon turned into contempt when we asked for public sector pay equality from the government.
NHS staff under 'Agenda for Change' have suffered a real-terms pay cut of 20% over the past decade. Due to ever-rising housing costs and inflation, we are now seeing NHS staff struggling to cover the basic costs of living, and burning out. We are expected to care, as that is our code, but who will care for us? Who will care for our beloved NHS?
Tory health secretary Matt Hancock has said that, although he is "sympathetic" to our cause, now is not the time to discuss a pay increase for NHS staff. I would ask Matt: Why is it acceptable to discuss your pay if now is not the right time for us? Didn't he say we are "in this together"?
We attempted to visit Matt Hancock's office last month. However, the land owner of the property threatened to have us, a small group of six hard-working, dedicated NHS staff, arrested. These are the very same people who clapped for us. Now they threaten us with the police. It's absolutely mind-blowing how quickly this government has turned on us.
MPs do not understand just how furious we are. Covid, awful working conditions, and a total disregard for the sacrifices NHS staff have had to make during the pandemic, have now caused staff to question whether or not this is a profession they would like to remain in.
We cannot sit back and do nothing while MPs continue to line their pockets. Some of our staff are having to visit food banks to get by. This is totally unacceptable and we, with our unions, will not stand for it. The majority of our group's members are willing to strike if the government refuses to engage. We simply cannot go on like this.
The Socialist Party demands:
- An immediate 15% pay rise for all health and care staff, including those in privatised sectors. A minimum wage of £12 an hour - £15 in London. Scrap zero-hour contracts immediately
- Reverse all privatisation and cancel PFI debts. For a fully nationalised and publicly funded NHS and social care sector, with full collective bargaining and national terms and conditions
- For a mass hiring programme. Bring outsourced workers back in-house and on a permanent contract. Reinstate student bursaries, and scrap all tuition fees and debts
- Scrap prescription charges in England, dental charges and all health charges
- A socialist NHS - democratically run by elected and accountable committees, including service workers and users
In The Socialist 21 October 2020: