Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1124/32143
The Socialist 10 March 2021 |
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Police disgracefully stop NHS pay protest
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:
- Hugo Pierre National black members' male seat April Ashley National black members' female seat Jim McFarlane Scotland male seat Adrian O'Malley National general health service group seat David Maples National disabled members' general seat John Malcolm Northern male seat Tom Hunt East Midlands male seat Naomi Byron Greater London reserved seat
- Hugo, April and Jim are sitting NEC members. Please also support Paula Carlyle for national disabled members' seat. The Socialist Party is also backing sitting Unison Action NEC members.
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