Health unions have announced a further four hour strike on 24 November in their ongoing pay dispute.
Since 2010 the NHS has been starved of £20 billion. By 2020 the gap between funding and necessary expenditure will be around £50 billion. Last month the new Chief Executive of the NHS Simon Stevens made a spurious claim that with an extra £8 billion investment he could redesign the service and make £22 billion savings by 2020.
If we do not win a decent pay settlement and build a union movement capable of defending our already much degraded terms and conditions, then we will have helped speed on the end of the NHS as a free state-of-the art health service.
But the current strategy of the unions is risible. So far the campaign has involved a four hour strike, four days of not doing unpaid overtime (so-called "action short of a strike") and a pause of six weeks. Now another four hour strike and more appeals to stop doing unpaid work for a few days.
The unelected bureaucrats who run the unions believe the pay claim can be won through winning public support. That's important, especially in an election year. But it is not as important as the mass withdrawal of labour or more effective at concentrating the minds of the bosses.
The rank-and-file must start to push for an escalation. A serious strategy to win could encourage many more health workers to strike and become part of the movement to save the NHS.