Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/910/23210
The Socialist 13 July 2016 |
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New threat to impose junior doctors contract must be met with strike action
Junior doctors march against attacks on NHS and their contracts, photo Paul Mattsson (Click to enlarge)
Following news that junior doctors in England voted by 58% to 42% to reject the terms of their proposed new working contract, health minister Jeremy Hunt is again threatening to impose the contract on them.
As Yannis Gourtsoyannis of the BMA junior doctors' committee said at the recent National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) conference: "We have come a long way in the last year. Our action was unprecedented in the NHS, probably the single most positive thing in NHS politics in decades. We are finally having a fight."
With teachers, college lecturers and many other groups of workers having to take strike action against this austerity-driven Tory government and greedy employers, junior doctors have set a great example and should now approach the TUC and coordinate further industrial action.
The only reason Jeremy Hunt backed down from imposing an earlier rotten contract and reopened negotiations was a series of determined strikes of the junior doctors, with overwhelming public support. This new threat must also be met by strike action.
Junior doctors felt that negotiators had conceded too much and the compromise deal has now been thrown out. Clearly a majority of junior doctors believe that their loss of earnings and a lack of proper oversight on working excessive hours in an increasingly fragmented NHS were unacceptable.
The Socialist Party has mobilised public support for the junior doctors' previous pickets and demonstrations and once again we will support further action to secure a just deal and workable contract.
As Yannis concluded at the NSSN conference: "Now is the time to ramp things up, government capitulation on the contract is possible. We also need to defend Corbyn and show the government the door."