NHS and health

Sage care workers ballot again

Workers at the Sage care home in north London are gearing up for a new industrial action ballot, as they continue their fight to win living wages, full sick pay, and parity with NHS terms and conditions. The care workers, who are members of the United Voices of the World union (UVW) previously struck in January and February. Workers in the privatised care sectors, many of whom are migrants, are typically low-paid, without access to contractual sick pay, and with a much worse annual leave entitlement than healthcare workers employed by the NHS. UVW has added its voice to calls for a free...

Now win full isolation pay for all

For the past few months the Safe and Equal campaign (S&E) has been working with Labour MPs to demand full sick and isolation pay for all frontline Test Centre workers. On 29 March 2021, S&E and Emily Thornberry MP got a letter from Sodexo HR Director Greg Austin: “Since receiving your enquiry I am pleased to report that the DHSC have approved the payment of occupational sick pay for periods of self-isolation for all workers at Test Centres. This commitment has also been included in the tender specification for the new Test Centre contract which commences in July 2021.” Previously, G4S and...

Haffkine and Saklatvala: epidemics, vaccines and revolutionaries

Workers' Liberty recently published a pamphlet about Indian socialist and anti-imperialist, and 1920s UK MP, Shapurji Saklatvala. (You can buy it here.) The pamphlet explains: His youngest daughter and biographer Sehri speculated that the seeds of revolutionary politics were planted in Saklatvala's mind when he volunteered to help Ukrainian Jewish bacteriologist Waldemar Haffkine combat the plague which killed hundreds of Bombay's people every week for years at the turn of the century. Haffkine was a former populist-socialist and political refugee from Czarism. As Saklatvala would later...

NHS pay protests across the country

NHS workers across the country held hospital-gate protests on Thursday 1 April, calling for a 15% pay rise (with a £3,000 floor) instead of the government's recommended 1%. St Thomas's hospital in London (pic above) held two protests, at two shift-change times, and University College London Hospital and Lewisham Hospital had lively protests (UCLH pic below). The London Transport Regional Council of the rail union RMT sent solidarity delegations to St Thomas's and UCLH. The next date pencilled in for demonstrations is 12 May, "international nurses' day". The official Pay Review Body is due to...

Scottish NHS pay: where's the other 11%?

On 24 March the Scottish Government announced a pay offer of 4% for NHS workers. Staff on the lowest Agenda for Change pay point would get a 5.4% increase. The pay rise would be backdated to last December. And it would come on top of the £500 "thank you" payment already made by the Scottish Government. As the Scottish Government press release inevitably pointed out, the pay offer was much better than the pay rise of 1% proposed by the Tories to the Pay Review Body for NHS workers in England. But the offer is nowhere near the Unite and GMB pay claim for 15% (or £3,000, whichever is the higher)...

NHS pay protests set for 1 April

NHS workers are continuing to organise against the 1% offer on pay, and for a 15% increase. Unison has announced a day of action on 30 March, and Health Workers Say No! are planning activity on 1 April, backed by Unite and the GMB. More information here. There is also an online day of action on 29 March: see here. Although the RCN have made a big announcement about their strike fund and all health unions are talking about ballots — Unison has issued an email to consult members informally — realistically any ballots will take place after the NHS pay review body reports in May and the government...

Diary of a paramedic: "Proceed with caution"

I’m working with a new paramedic. After we check our equipment we sit and have a quick cup of tea. We talk about the pay offer, the miserable 1%. He says he can’t believe that the government is using the crisis to pit those that have suffered most financially against us instead of recognising our work. Our conversation is interrupted by our first call. We go out and get on with the job. On our break there’s, unusually, a few other crews on station. One of them is writing a report about a violent incident they’ve been to, and we get into a discussion about everyone’s experiences. A few people...

“Zero Covid” and “Build back fairer” – two motions, two approaches

Workers’ Liberty recently held a public debate with a comrade from the Zero Covid campaign. You can read Martin Thomas’ speech at the meeting here. We have criticised Zero Covid's focus on demanding - and having unrealistically high hopes from - police measures like lockdowns, and vagueness on promoting workers' struggles for measures of social solidarity in and against the pandemic. At the same we have proposed working together on building such struggles. It must be said we were disappointed to read Zero Covid’s motion in Labour left organisation Momentum’s “policy primary” to decide what...

Pay NHS workers 15%!

The government’s recommendation of a measly 1% pay rise for NHS workers has been widely seen as a kick in the teeth. Protests across the country were sparked following the announcement, reigniting the activists who organised sizeable street protests last July-September. Nurses United (a group inside RCN) and others in Healthworkers Say No to Pay Inequality have for months spearheaded campaigning for a 15% pay rise (with a £3,000 minimum). The GMB and Unite are following this demand. The RCN calls for 12.5%. Unison has a £2,000 flat rate demand, which looks like it’s copied from the flat-rate...

Health workers remobilise for 15% pay rise

The government's recommendation of a measly 1% pay rise for NHS workers has been widely seen as a kick in the teeth. Protests across the country were sparked following the announcement, reigniting the activists who organised sizeable street protests last July-September. Nurses United (a group inside RCN) and others in Healthworkers Say No to Pay Inequality have for months spearheaded campaigning for a 15% pay rise (with a £3,000 minimum). The GMB and Unite are following this demand. The RCN calls for 12.5%. Unison has a £2,000 flat rate demand, which looks like it's copied from the flat-rate...

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