Today, the British Medical Association has announced that its next two, two-day, strikes will now be “all-out”, and will include walkouts by junior doctors covering emergency care in hospitals. Previously during strikes, junior doctors still worked on emergency care.
The Tory government’s total intransigence and determination to force through a new contract, which will see junior doctors working more hours and services stretched to breaking point, must be resisted.
The PCS National Executive Committee and PCS Left Unity calls on the Trade Union Congress and all public sector unions to turn the April 16th People’s Assembly demonstration against austerity into the first shot in a sustained campaign of protest and concerted industrial action. This is the key to defending the NHS, securing a pay rise for workers watching their wages drain away as prices rise and to restoring the vital public services that austerity has eaten away at.
Teachers, parents and students are faced with a programme to force all schools to become unaccountable academies, meaning massive amounts of public land and money are passed to private companies, instead of recruiting more teachers and reducing class sizes.
Nurses are faced with ever longer hours, wage freezes, downgrading of key aspects of their job and a government that is opposed to national pay bargaining. If the doctors fail in their fight, nurses and other NHS staff will be next.
Civil servants face a massive programme of office closures and job losses. Over 1 million public sector jobs have now been cut since austerity began in 2008. Hundreds of offices in HMRC are under threat as the government’s determination to let the wealthiest 1% avoid tax continues.
Council workers have faced mass job losses, with 600,000 jobs lost in this area alone since 2010. Prison Officers work in increasingly unsafe conditions. Firefighters have continued their stiff opposition to raises in the retirement age that will put lives at risk. Across the public sector workers are determined to fight back, and in so doing can give a lead to millions working in the private sector who are scrimping to survive on poverty wages and in-work benefits that the Tories have promised to cut.
There can be no more excuses from the TUC. The resignation of Iain Duncan Smith as Work and Pensions secretary exposes the weakness of a government elected with only 24% of the vote and riven by deep divisions, as austerity bites hard into what they consider to be their base of support.
The time for coordinated industrial action to force the government back is now, and it is the only way to ensure the grotesque anti-Trade Union bill is dead on arrival, before it even makes the statute books. PCS Left Unity calls on all branches to organise support for pickets in their area, and to debate the motion being proposed to Annual Delegate Conference at their branch mandating meetings.