• Scrap the privatising health and care bill
  • 15% NHS pay rise now
Marching in London on 3 July, including Naomi Byron (right), photo Paul Mattsson

Marching in London on 3 July, including Naomi Byron (right), photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

Thousands of NHS workers, in dozens of towns and cities, protested on Saturday 3 July against the Tories’ insulting 1% pay offer. Just days later, on 5 July, it was announced that workers in the NHS will be awarded the George Cross medal. Not something that will pay the bills for the thousands of nurses who are forced to visit food banks.

And then, the next day, the government presented its health and care bill in parliament, spelling out plans for further privatisation and even less democratic oversight of our NHS.

Socialist Party member Naomi Byron joined others outside parliament as the bill was presented. She has recently been elected as a member of health union Unison’s national executive council and spoke in a personal capacity.

“I believe that parts of this bill are an enormous threat to our NHS, particularly its further break-up, and the extension of privatisation. I’m calling on all trade unions to support the campaign to oppose the bill. And I hope that my union will take a lead on this by calling a protest outside parliament on a day that it is debated, and by calling a national demonstration in the autumn to defend our NHS.”

“On the issue of NHS pay, the Pay Review Body has reported its recommendation to the government, and the government is due to make its offer in the next couple of weeks. If they offer less than what all the health trade unions and our movement for an NHS pay rise are calling for, I believe that all health unions must immediately ballot their members on the offer, and campaign strongly for members to reject it.”

“If members do reject the pay offer, we should follow this up with a strike ballot and a massive campaign for members to vote ‘yes’ for action. And in any action resulting from these ballots, I hope all unions in the health sector will try to coordinate, and also coordinate with workers in other sectors fighting their own insulting pay offers.”

See also: NHS workers’ protests