Wide screen devices may view this page better by clicking here

Privatisation

spotCampaigns

spotOrganisations

spotArguments for socialism

spotPeople

spotInternational

spotEvents

spotAround the UK


All keywords


All Campaigns subcategories:

Anti-capitalism

Anti-fascist

Anti-racism

Anti-war

Asylum

Black and Asian

Children

CNWP

Corporate crime

Disability

Education

Election campaigns

Environment

EU

Finance

Food

Gender Recognition Act

Health and safety

Health and welfare

Housing

Human Rights

LGBT Pride

Local government

Local services

Low pay

Migration

Nationalisation

New workers party

NHS

Pensions

Post Office

Poverty

* Privatisation

Public Services

Socialism

Socialist

Sport

Stop the slaughter of Tamils

Students

The state

Transport

TUSC

Welfare rights

Women

Workplace and TU campaigns

Youth


Privatisation


Highlight keywords  |Print this articlePrint this article
From: The Socialist issue 1066, 27 November 2019: Vote for jobs homes, services. Tories out, Corbyn in. Fight for socialist policies.

Search site for keywords: Northern Ireland - Strike - Workers - Pay - NHS - Ireland - PFI - Labour Party - CWI

Northern Ireland: strike action by NHS workers over pay and workload

Nurses marching for the NHS, photo Paul Mattsson

Nurses marching for the NHS, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

CWI reporter Northern Ireland

For the first time in the Royal College of Nursing's 103-year history, nurses have voted for strike action. They have been joined by Unison, and likely, the Nipsa and Unite unions which are now balloting for strike action.

Crisis in the health service regularly graces the front pages in the North of Ireland. The region's NHS was recently described as being on the "brink of collapse" by a Westminster committee. Waiting lists are the worst in the UK, and regularly exceed five years for routine operations. Even those with suspected cancer are left to wait weeks and even months for vital diagnostics.

Paradoxically, healthcare funding was the only budget protected in real terms by the Northern Ireland executive in the decade after the economic collapse of 2008.

So, for right-wing pundits, the crisis is explained by the near three-year absence of ministers, following the executive's collapse, to 'take the hard decisions' and close hospitals as per the 'Bengoa' strategy adopted by Sinn Féin. In the absence of these 'hard choices', they claim the entire health and social care system is unsustainable.

Yet the reality is precisely the opposite. While health spending per head in Northern Ireland remains above the rest of the UK, it is inadequate to meet the high levels of post-traumatic stress, mental illness and disability here, and ring-fencing funding in real terms did not meet rapidly rising additional demand.

Key to the current crisis is the neoliberal structural changes adopted by the executive parties over the last 20 years: the internal market, scandalous private finance initiative contracts and widespread outsourcing of services to the private sector.

Most destructive, perhaps, was the failure to provide sufficient places for student nurses and doctors, and the critical decision to regionalise pay - leaving NHS workers here receiving thousands less a year than colleagues elsewhere.

Thousands of newly-qualified professionals have understandably taken job opportunities overseas, leaving a chronic staffing crisis and remaining staff massively overworked. The result has been the closure of wards, services further rationed and huge sums expended on private staff agencies - currently £640,000 a day.

The ballots for strike action were greeted with significant public support. Unison's rolling strike action commenced at Antrim hospital on 25 November with the unions identifying further strike dates in December, January and February.

Union leaderships must now propose a programme of escalating strikes to show angry members and the employer that they're serious about winning this fight. This is against a backdrop where the Labour Party has promised huge investment in the NHS and to boot out the privateers. The genie of militancy is likely to prove difficult for right-wing union bureaucrats to put back in the bottle.

Action by the four unions will be the biggest since the 2014 one-day public sector strike against the executive's austerity policies and represents another leap forward.

All workers must join in solidarity with the strikers to secure an end to private-sector waste and demand full pay equality. As Nye Bevan said, the NHS will remain for as long as there are those with the faith left to fight for it.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Finance appeal

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.

Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.

We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to click here to donate to our Fighting Fund.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation £

 

Your message: 

 






Privatisation keywords:

PFI (189)

PPP (20)

Privatisation (935)

Privatised (77)

Public-Private Partnership (4)

Trusts (56)

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Article dated 27 November 2019

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

MEMBER RESOURCES

Pay in Fighting Fund

Pay in paper and book sales

Leaflets

Bulk book orders

New member submission

WHAT'S ON

triangle28 Feb Socialist Students conference

triangle2 Mar Bristol North Socialist Party: The National Question - Scotland, Wales & N Ireland

triangle2 Mar Caerphilly & RCT Socialist Party: How can peace be achieved in Israel/Palestine?

More...


The Socialist, weekly newspaper of the Socialist Party

Covid

What we think

News

Lessons from history

Workplace news

TUSC

Campaigns news

LGBT+ history month

International news

Readers' opinion

Subscribespacer|spacerebook / Kindlespacer|spacerPDF versionspacer|spacerText / Printspacer|spacer1122 onlinespacer|spacerBack issuesspacer|spacer Audio files


Leicester picket on the 21st strike day (22nd Feb) of around 7,000 British Gas engineers.  They are fighting against

Leicester picket on the 21st strike day (22nd Feb) of around 7,000 British Gas engineers. They are fighting against 'fire and rehire' - designed to worsen terms and conditions. Photo by Steve Score, Leicester Socialist Party

What We Stand For
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Platform setting: =

Desktop version