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From The Socialist newspaper, 7 April 2021

Pay NHS staff 15%!

Vote socialist on 6 May

photo Clare Doyle

photo Clare Doyle   (Click to enlarge)

100,000 nurses could quit the NHS, and two-thirds of health workers are mentally exhausted at least once a week. Our health service is in a permanent state of crisis. But the Tory government responds by offering an insulting 1% pay deal to NHS staff. Other frontline public sector workers have had another pay freeze imposed on them.

We support the health workers' demand for a 15% pay rise; after all they have suffered a 20% pay cut in real terms over the last decade. Decent pay would go some way to address the flood of nurses leaving the NHS, but it also needs to be coupled with huge government investment to ensure a shorter working week, and the resources needed to be able to deliver decent care.

Health workers protest for a 15% pay rise. Photo: Steve Eason/CC

Health workers protest for a 15% pay rise. Photo: Steve Eason/CC   (Click to enlarge)

Nurses, who in increasing numbers need to visit food banks, are forced by the pressure of low pay into agency work which is often slightly better paid. One agency, owned by a Canadian billionaire, has charged the NHS over 2,000 for a 12-hour shift, more than a typical nurse would earn in a month, and no doubt nowhere near what the agency paid its staff.

This kind of profiteering, an inevitable consequence of privatisation, is leading the NHS to ruin unless there is a serious fightback. The pandemic has piled a huge burden onto NHS staff. But as it stands, beyond Covid, it isn't going to let up. There is now an enormous backlog of care that could not be delivered at the height of the pandemic.

Now is the time to back the health workers' demand for 15%. The health unions, supported by the wider trade union movement, must call a national demonstration - to prepare for strike action if necessary. To win a pay rise, but also to fight for a fully-resourced NHS democratically controlled by the staff and communities it serves. This means kicking out the privatisers and taking the wealth off the super-rich who have only got richer during the pandemic.

We need a party that fights for a socialist NHS. Labour won't do that under Starmer, we need a new mass party of the working class. Support the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition in the elections on 6 May, to help that party come into being.

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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.
  • 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.
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In The Socialist 7 April 2021:


News

Pay NHS staff 15%!

Racism exists! Unite to fight all inequality

Report condones vigil police violence - democratic community control a necessity

Low-paid workers shouldn't pay for Covid crisis

The system is broken... youth unite and fight back

Fighting Fund: An amazing 39,948 raised


Schools

Sexism in education: It shouldn't be like this!

Pimlico Academy protests: "Run by racists for profit"

Academy schools have become business ventures


Protests

Defiance continues against anti-protest bill

London: #BuhariMustGo protests are back


Local elections

Councillors have a choice - don't vote for cuts

Former Labour parliamentary candidate to stand for TUSC


Workplace news

NEU elections: Elect a socialist leadership to fight for national action and a united campaign

GMB general secretary election: A fighting, socialist leadership needed

Sparks take deskilling protests to Hinkley Point

Marley Tiles workers strike against bullying bosses

New British Gas deadline and strike dates

Bristol Water walkout


Childcare

Childcare in crisis: A socialist solution


Liverpool

Right-wing Labour and Tory commissioners out of Liverpool!


Brixton riots

1981 Brixton riots: Racism and poverty - the anger explodes


International news

Brazil: Bolsonaro regime plunges into a deeper crisis


Readers' opinion

The Socialist Inbox


 

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Related links:

NHS:

triangleReaders' opinion

triangleNottingham NHS pay protest

triangleCovid, capitalism and mental health

triangleFor a fighting, democratic, member-led union to stop the austerity attacks

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triangleThurrock refuse workers strike escalates

triangleNational Education Union needs a socialist, fighting deputy general secretary

triangleRMT: Militant industrial and political strategy must be fought for

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triangleStop Israeli state brutality

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Health:

triangleBeal school strikers suspend action after possible victory

triangleSt Mungo's workers walkout

Workers:

triangleUnited action needed to defeat fire and rehire

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