The Socialist

The Socialist 31 March 2021

Unite and fight - For the right to protest

The Socialist issue 1127

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NHS pay: 15% now!

Photo: London SP

Photo: London SP   (Click to enlarge)

Despite government ministers dishing out billions of pounds in dodgy PPE contracts to their chums, loans to bosses, and 37 billion on a largely failed test-and-trace system, Chancellor Rishi Sunak has offered a measly 1% pay rise to overworked health workers. And for other public sector workers earning modest wages, he has imposed yet another pay freeze.

Along with higher council tax, reductions in Universal Credit, and the freezing of income tax thresholds, it's been estimated that NHS families could be over 1,000 a year worse off. What a kick in the teeth for health workers, over 850 of whom have died from Covid-19 during the year-long pandemic.

And instead of ensuring adequate PPE, good pay, and a larger workforce, all the government seems to do is to encourage the public to 'show their love for the NHS', 'light a candle', or 'applaud' health workers. But all those public expressions of support for the NHS won't pay health workers' rents or mortgages, or the ever-rising utility bills.

Labour has criticised the inadequacy of the government's 1% pay rise but all Keir Starmer seems to be offering is a paltry 2.1% - which was promised back in 2019! Even the austerity-lite Scottish National Party government in Scotland has offered a 4% rise.

Clearly, none of the establishment parties are offering anything meaningful to workers and their families - a reason to support the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition electoral alternative this May.

But in the meantime, the leaders of trade unions representing health workers and the wider working class, must step up to the plate and push forward the demand for a full 15% pay rise to make up for years of inadequate NHS pay rises. At the same time, they must draw up a coordinated battle plan, including strike action, to secure what workers need.

Such a step would enjoy overwhelming public support and serve as a springboard for all those workers elsewhere facing 'fire-and-rehire' ultimatums, savage wage cuts, and redundancies from the bosses, to fight back.

  • An immediate 15% pay rise for all health and care staff
  • Unions must organise for strike action
  • Reverse privatisation. Scrap the Private Finance Initiative. Cancel PFI debt. Bring all outsourced workers and services in-house on permanent contracts
  • A fully publicly funded NHS and care system, free at the point of use
  • A socialist NHS - democratically run by elected committees, including service workers and users
  • We can't trust pro-privatisation, pro-austerity, anti-working-class politicians. For a new mass workers' party

In this issue


Mobilise Liverpool workers to defy Tory commissioners and austerity

London - We need socialists into City Hall

Warning: Labour Party cutters - careful who you phone!


Domestic Abuse Bill: So much still to fight for

We will not be the lost generation

Shrewsbury pickets exonerated after almost 50 years

'Chingford skinhead' spills the beans over government surveillance of union activists

Freeports spell deregulation, low pay and a new race to the bottom

No start for life

Right to protest

Unite and fight - For the right to protest

Defending the right to protest

Socialist analysis

Preparing for the revolts to come


Cumberland hospital workers fight for stolen pay

NHS pay: 15% now!

Workplace news

Trade union fighters rally to support victimised workers

BT Openreach engineers step up the pressure with five-day strike action

Asda equal pay ruling victory - now fight for equal pay for all

SPS Technologies workers strike against potential pay loss of 3,000 a year

Deskilling protests by sparks electricians continue

Beal academy strikers demand equal sick pay

Goodlord strike starts to bite

Nationalise Liberty Steel to save jobs

British Gas workers strike ahead of 'fire and rehire' deadline

Reports & campaigns

Online rally - 150 years since the Paris Commune

Selling the Socialist

Donate now to fuel our election campaigns

Readers' opinion

Football abuse scandal: Reclaim the game for justice and democracy

Socialist Liverpool City Council inspired me

Women, violence and defiance

The Socialist Inbox


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31 March 2021