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From The Socialist newspaper, 8 June 2021

Healthworkers: Understaffed... Underpaid... BURNT OUT!

'Let's fight to win on NHS pay and funding'

Protest on 3 July!

Demonstrating to save the NHS

Demonstrating to save the NHS   (Click to enlarge)

A London NHS worker

Local protests and demonstrations are being organised all over the country on the NHS's birthday, 3 July. We will be demanding a real pay rise, proper funding, enough staff to ensure patient safety, and an end to privatisation and marketisation.

Staff are exhausted, traumatised and angry - a fact now recognised in the latest health and social care report by MPs; not that they offer any real solution!

For many healthworkers the insulting 1% pay offer from the government is the last straw. There is a determination to fight, including taking strike action.

The Pay Review Body is due to give its recommendation on NHS pay for England and Wales this month. This is likely to be another insultingly low figure. It is crucial that this should be met with a coordinated campaign of action by health unions, backed up by support from other unions, local NHS campaigns and local communities.

Coordinated strike action is the surest way to win a real pay rise for NHS staff. The grassroots demand for 15%, now adopted by most unions, should be the absolute minimum. NHS pay has been reduced by around 20% since 2010.

Strikes would also show the Tory government that it cannot abuse the NHS and get away with it. Its current White Paper is a privatisers' charter, aiming to allow private companies onto boards that commission services. They might as well just hand over the chequebook now!

The establishment media, which couldn't say enough about what heroes we were a year ago, is now turning on NHS staff, accusing us of being 'greedy'. It isn't greed to want to be able to pay our rent and bills without struggling. It isn't greed that makes us fight for a wage that could retain staff, instead of them leaving in droves because they can't afford to live.

It isn't greed to demand safe staffing levels to ensure patient safety, or to demand outsourced staff are brought back in-house on NHS pay and conditions. It's not greed to fight for the resources needed to bring down waiting lists.

The real greed we see is the private companies bleeding the NHS dry for their own profits. Billions of pounds of public money was spent on dodgy PPE contracts last year with private companies - which in some cases failed even to provide the PPE so desperately needed in health and social care.

Where health workers fight, we can win. A joint strike by NHS workers in Northern Ireland won equal pay with NHS staff in England and Wales in the first strike after Johnson was elected in December 2019.

During the pandemic, strikes in health have continued. In two hospitals in East Lancashire, security staff who demanded their contracts were brought back into the NHS, won.

For the future of our NHS, let's fight to win on NHS pay and funding.

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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 8 June 2021:


News

G7 tax deal won't challenge corporate power

Dea-John Reid murder: Jobs, homes and services, not racism

Tory school catch-up plan: Fight for the funding our schools and colleges need

Post-Brexit trade deals: Workers' mobilisation needed to stop corporate extortion

G7 green hypocrisy

New book - coming soon: The Struggle for World Socialism

G7 Can't solve poverty, Covid and climate change - join the struggle for Socialism


What we think

Tory splits and infighting growing


NHS

'Let's fight to win on NHS pay and funding'

We're building for 3 July NHS protests


Workplace news

Goodlord striker speaks out: How we unionised and fought the bosses

Revolt against 'social partnership' at Wales Trades Union Congress 2021

Douwe Egberts workers strike against pay cuts of up to 12,000 a year

London workers prepare to fight Khan's transport cuts

If unions give a lead, workers are fully prepared to fight and win victories

Fight for a socialist leadership in PCS, build a fighting, democratic union!

Workplace news in brief


Lessons from history

The 1971 Upper Clyde Shipbuilders occupation and work-in


Campaigns news

Cladding safety: Protests demand developers and government pay

"Rights are won not given" - London refugee wins housing debt campaign

Hundreds march to scrap Silvertown Tunnel project

Shame on Clarion - another exploitative landlord


Israel/Palestine

Palestinian self-determination - is the solution one state or two?


Readers' opinion

TV review: Mrs Thatcher vs the miners

Readers' Opinion


 

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