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From: The Socialist issue 1118, 27 January 2021: Covid spreading, poverty rising, rich get richer, fight for socialism!

Search site for keywords: Health - Hospital - US - Covid - Banks

Health worker cooperation in the face of the pandemic

Demanding a 15% pay rise for NHS workers, 8th August 2020, Merthyr

Demanding a 15% pay rise for NHS workers, 8th August 2020, Merthyr   (Click to enlarge)

Maggie Fricker, University Hospital Southampton

It was with mixed feelings that I read my thank you letter from the hospital trust this week. Inside was a badge of honour, a lunch break voucher and a one-off extra day's leave.

But it has in fact been an amazing experience working here through Covid. Staff have come together and treated each other as a family. Petty differences have been forgotten, people ask you how you are doing and show little acts of kindness and support. We have made an extraordinary effort to be flexible, to innovate and make things work. Managers have listened and supported staff. We even have consultants turn up in the middle of the night to be part of the 'intensive care proning team'.

It's been a real glimpse of what is possible if we cooperate for the benefit of all. No, I'm not arguing that we're all in it together. The consultants still manage on over 100,000 a year while others are forced to use food banks. And, when this is all over, hospital managers will attempt to make savings at our expense and extend their idea of 'innovation' to make the role of the private sector more permanent.

The bosses' idea of 'giving us a say' is to pinch our ideas, con us to work extra hours, and still not give us a decent pay rise. Our idea of cooperation is a socialist one, where we own and control our services democratically and society's resources are allocated on the basis of need.

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

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Article dated 27 January 2021

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Thurrock council workers striking against pay cuts, photo by Dave Murray

Thurrock council workers striking against pay cuts, photo Dave Murray

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