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From The Socialist newspaper, 10 March 2021

Police disgracefully stop NHS pay protest

The Manchester NHS protest 6 March, photo Manchester SP

The Manchester NHS protest 6 March, photo Manchester SP   (Click to enlarge)

Manchester and Salford Socialist Party members

An NHS pay rally was organised quickly and urgently in Manchester on 7 March. As soon as the government announcement was made, trade union branches were inundated and work WhatsApp groups were buzzing. The feeling of anger and need to do something was palpable.

The rally was socially distanced. Around the corner there were groups of people queuing to buy coffee - that was allowed. And the day after, millions of school children returned to school. But we were stopped by the police from protesting about this disgraceful kick in the teeth from the Tory government.

Striking Go Buses drivers from Unite union joined the rally from their picket line. Unfortunately, no one was allowed to speak, apart from to advise the crowd that the rally wasn't allowed to go ahead. And police cleared the area after arresting one woman and handing an outrageous 10,000 fine to the organisers.

Some NHS workers there seemed shocked about what the Tories are doing, but that shock has turned into anger.

They're particularly angry about the lies being told about their salaries and terms and conditions. Workers don't recognise the 34,000 being bandied about. They don't recognise the 12.5% pay rise quoted in the capitalist media.

There is a reason they are not recognised. They are not true!

One nurse shouted: "Tell the truth about our salaries". Another worker told us: "I have to work extra weekends just to be able to afford the childcare so I can go to work". A porter said: "The increase in our pension contributions took our last pay rise"

Health workers have been suffering under Tory governments for over a decade. Covid has shone a light on the dire state of the NHS.

Due to cuts, hospitals didn't have the required critical care or ward beds to fight the pandemic. Staffing levels have been cut so far to skeleton levels that there was no resilience in workforce levels when NHS staff became ill with Covid.

The irony of the Tories patting themselves on the back for building Nightingale hospitals that can't be staffed wasn't lost on the workers at the protest. We need our unions and the Trades Union Congress to organise a serious struggle to break the public sector pay freeze and to support health workers' demand for a 15% pay rise now.


The Socialist Party supports the following people for Unison national executive council (NEC) election:

Rules introduced by Unison to clamp down on democratic debate in the union mean that candidates for union elections cannot 'invite or accept' support 'in money or kind' from any entity which 'is not provided for in Unison rules'. This article has been produced without the authorisation of the candidates, in order to comply with these requirements

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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.

  • 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.
  • 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.
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In The Socialist 10 March 2021:


NHS pay

NHS pay - 15% now

NHS workers say: We are ready to fight Tory pay insult

Police disgracefully stop NHS pay protest


News

Super-deduction will help big business pay less tax

The 'old normal' meant poverty for young people


What we think

Tories keep bailing out bosses, while piling pain on workers and public services


Schools

Workers respond to 'back to school'


Workplace news

British Gas strikers reject deal and carry on fighting

Goodlord striker speaks out: 'workers have to fight for our skills to be appreciated'

Stop union busting on the buses: Reinstate Declan Clune and Moe Muhsin Manir

Sparks deskilling protests

Leicester university workers ballot for action against redundancies

Sainsbury's pay offer shows future will only be 'great pay' if we fight

PCS leadership failures lead to concession bargaining on pay

Manchester bus drivers' indefinite strikers fight on

London bus drivers continue walkout


Rosa Luxemburg

150th anniversary of Rosa Luxemburg's birth


Wealth Tax

Would a wealth tax end poverty and inequality?


Campaigns news

Socialist women speak at inspirational International Women's Day online rally

Why I joined the Socialist Party - to fight for the future of the working class

Why I'm standing for TUSC

Build subscriptions to the Socialist

Fighting fund target achieved - keep up the momentum


International news

Historic union battle at Alabama warehouse

10 years ago - the Fukushima nuclear disaster: "We came close to losing northern Japan"


Letters

The Socialist Inbox


 

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