“The only way health workers and others can defend their pay and conditions is through taking industrial action themselves. Without such action public services will wither and collapse through ever worsening staff shortages.”
By The Socialist Health Association
Socialist Health Association (SHA) officers have met to discuss the unprecedented wave of industrial action by unions representing health workers and many others.
The SHA, besides being a Labour Party affiliate, is very much part of the broader labour movement. We urge members to stand in solidarity with these disputes.
We strongly back workers in organising and campaigning to defend and win good wages and conditions. We recognise that deep seated inequality leads to ill health and premature death. These issues can only be resolved through effective collective action and socialist politics.
Successive governments since Margaret Thatcher have banned solidarity action. Today the only way health workers and others can defend their pay and conditions is through taking industrial action themselves. Without such action public services will wither and collapse through ever worsening staff shortages. There is no contradiction between campaigning for good pay and working conditions and patient safety, they are two sides of the same coin.
Working people are not the source of inflation. They are trying to feed their families, heat their homes and keep up with spiralling costs. The costs of settling the pay demands of health workers has been hugely exaggerated by the government. Much of this cost will be returned to the national budget through a healthier population and increased economic activity which will improve government finances.
Working people did not cause the record waiting lists for health care – years of Tory cuts and expensive health care marketisation and privatisation have led to worse services and hugely increased costs.
Failure in social care which prevents hospitals from discharging patients was not caused by workers but the sell off and asset stripping of services originally provided by local government social services.
Incompetent preparation and over reliance on corrupt deals for PPE during the height of the pandemic have drained public resources; not workers.
We strongly urge our members and branches to support local picket lines and use our special position within local Labour parties to promote active solidarity by Labour members and those holding public office.
SHA banners, flags and leaflets are available to show our solidarity on picket lines and at solidarity events.
Among health workers the following protests are taking place:
Nursing 15 and 20 Dec: Nursing picket lines (RCN)
Ambulance 21 Dec: Ambulance picket lines (UNISON)
The GMB are reporting additional strikes at the following trusts on the 28th December:
South West Ambulance Service
South East Coast Ambulance Service
North West Ambulance Service
South Central Ambulance Service
North East Ambulance Service
East Midlands Ambulance Service
West Midlands Ambulance Service
Welsh Ambulance Service
Yorkshire Ambulance Service
- This article is reproduced from the Socialist Health Association newsletter. You can follow the SHA on Facebook and twitter.