NHS and health

Build from below against NHS pay insult

Following the government's 3% award to NHS workers, all the health unions will be running informal consultations of their members over the next month. The award falls way below the claims of each union, Unison £2,000, RCN 12%, GMB and Unite 15%, and the current RPI rate of inflation, 3.9%, making it yet another real-terms pay cut. The fact that the government has met the Pay Review Body recommendation only shows how inadequate that body is.

Defeat NHS cuts, carve-up and wage-squeeze!

New figures from the TUC say that after the 3% pay rise the government is proposing, NHS workers will still be than 7.5% worse off than in 2010. Other figures have suggest the pay cut is bigger. Certainly for many NHS workers it will be much bigger. The Tories are also saying that 3% must come from existing NHS budgets, i.e. from cuts to services. We demand a 15% increase, and fully funded. Under pressure from NHS campaigners, Labour and the unions eventually spoke out against the Tories’ privatisation- and cuts-driving Health and Care Bill and the Parliamentary Labour Party voted against the...

NHS: beat the 3%, beat new privatising plans!

It looks like the government’s pay “award” for NHS workers will be 3%. Maybe only 1.5% will be a basic ongoing increase, and the other 1.5% a one-off payment. This falls way below all the claims the unions put into the Pay Review Body. Three per cent does nothing to address the real-terms pay cuts faced by NHS workers over the last 10 years, or the 100,000 vacancies that are taking many workers to breaking point and crippling NHS services. After a more than a year of extraordinary effort and current escalating pressures NHS workers will feel this as a body blow. The government are confirming...

Make unions fight for workplace safety!

The Tory government is setting England on course for a gamble with Covid-19. The labour movement is not well-placed to second-guess scientists. But we must step up our fight for the social measures we’ve long been campaigning for, and which are known to alleviate the spread of Covid. On 1 July the editor of the British Medical Journal (BMJ) responded to the appointment of Sajid Javid as health minister with a list of demands. Those included: • Proper financial support for those who need to isolate. • Invest in ventilation. • Make FFP3 masks mandatory for all staff treating patients with...

Complexities of vaccine policy

Unite, Unison and GMB leaders’ opposition to compulsory vaccination for care home workers, echoed by Ali Treacher’s article (Solidarity 598), has me in two minds. At the very least, it’s more complicated than presented. It is undoubtedly a cynical and hypocritical move by a government that has demonstrated extreme disdain for the lives of both workers and care home residents, refusing the most obvious and far more important measures like universal 100% sick pay. However, that hypocrisy doesn’t mean the labour movement should necessarily campaign against the policy itself, or its extension to...

Tax billionaires to rebuild the NHS!

As lockdown measures are further lifted, the NHS is under huge pressure. Numbers of Covid cases admitted to hospital are rising for a third time, and sickness and isolation levels amongst staff are again increasing. Unlike last year, this pressure is on top of the provision of “normal” services, where, in turn, demand has escalated because of the pandemic. Waiting lists for consultant-led planned hospital treatment stand at a record high of 5.3 million, despite the restrictions on GP referrals over the last year. Last month was also the busiest ever at emergency departments across the country...

Workers’ control for safety at work

Over fifteen thousand (15,263) working-aged people have died of Covid-19. Employers have registered just 387 as work-related deaths. That is just one example of the extraordinary efforts the boss class has made to deny and minimise workplace transmission. In fact, at most of the high points in the pandemic indoor, social mixing has mostly been at work, or at someone else’s workplace — shop, place of education, public transport, hospital, or care-home. A lot of household to household transmission of the virus must have happened in a workplace, and a large number of those dead workers must have...

Tax the rich to restore the NHS! Pay the 15%!

On 3 July health workers and supporters across the country will be marking the 73rd anniversary of the creation of the NHS by protesting for patient safety, for pay justice and against privatisation: see here The official NHS Pay Review Body has still not made its recommendation for pay from April 2021. It was due in May. It was delayed until “mid-June”, then “some time in June”, and then... The absolute deadline seems to be 22 July. The Tories want to limit pay rises to 1%. NHS Workers Say No! and Nurses United demand a 15% rise with a minimum of £3,000. Across the NHS one-in-eleven posts are...

Back NHS workers to win 15%

Nursing Times reports that the NHS Pay Review Body’s recommendation on NHS workers, is due “sometime this month” (June), despite delay. The PRB was originally supposed to report in May. The Tory government has already said in its evidence to the PRB that 1% is all that is “affordable” — it uses the word 16 times in its submission — and it is the government that makes the final decision. The system of supposedly independent pay review bodies in the public sector — replacing actual collective bargaining between unions and employers — is a farce, designed to shift power further from workers to...

How can there be "surplus" vaccines?

In mid-June, state officials in Michigan warned of over half a million doses of Covid-19 vaccines that were set to expire between then and early August. Around the same time, an Ohio governor warned of 200,000 vaccines due to expire on 23 June. This problem likely faces every state, with over ten million doses of J&J delivered but not administered across the country. An extension to J&J’s shelf-life by the USA’s FDA only provides temporary respite. At a time when fewer than 1% of people in low income countries have received at least one dose, these figures in themselves provide a sharp...

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