NHS and health

NHS pay: on the streets, 3 July

Within the next few weeks, the issue of NHS pay will be sharply back on the agenda. The NHS Pay Review Body (PRB) is due to make their recommendation on pay for England and Wales in “mid-June”. That will be followed by an offer from the government. After 18 months of the Covid response which has stretched NHS workers to their limits, proved fatal for over 800, and left many more physically and mentally scarred, the offer will certainly bring disappointment and anger. The immediate focus of campaigning is the well-timed day of action called by Keep Our NHS Public, Health Campaigns Together, NHS...

"This is about the kind of world we want to live in"

Ali Treacher is a care worker, Unite the Union activist and workplace rep, and Secretary of the Care and Support Workers Organise! network (CaSWO!) She is also a supporter of Anti-Capitalist Resistance. She spoke to us about care workers' fight. CaSWO! has been meeting throughout the last year, since the start of the pandemic, after a Unison-organised call which brought together care workers around issues like workplace health and safety and PPE. The initial focus was basically offering each other solidarity and advice and sharing information. Government guidelines were so vague that we had to...

Vaccines and blood clots

Does the AstraZeneca vaccine (AZV) cause rare and dangerous types of blood clot? Probably yes, and AZV is now not recommended for people under 30. Let’s look at the overall picture. Out of 4.4 million people confirmed to have Covid-19, over 150,000 have died. That’s about 34,000 per million confirmed cases. Confirmed cases are likely to be an underestimate of actual cases but, taking the highest estimate, the fatality rate is still at least 10,000 per million cases or about 1%. In principle, mass vaccination should eventually be able to reduce Covid infection rates, and therefore deaths, to...

NHS pay after Scotland

As expected, the majority of NHS union members and trade unions in Scotland have voted in consultative ballots to accept the 4% pay offer. Members of Unison, Unite, and the smaller profession-based unions such as the RCM and CSP voted to accept. 85% of those voting in Unison, the biggest union, accepted. GMB and RCN members rejected in line with their leaderships’ recommendations. The Scottish government quickly announced it would be implementing the deal with no further negotiation, and it looks unlikely that the rejecting unions will seriously oppose this. Although not quite meeting the...

GMB votes to reject 4% in NHS

Scottish NHS workers in the GMB union have rejected the 4% Scottish government pay offer. The RCN, who also recommended rejection, are expected to announce their result as Solidarity goes to press on 11 May. Unison recommended acceptance of the offer, and Unite did not make a recommendation, so it seems likely their members will vote to accept. The issue in Scotland will now be whether GMB and possibly the RCN will ballot for action, or simply use the recommendation to reject as a crude recruitment ploy, as happened in the last pay round. Members should push for a ballot for strike action...

NHS protests set for 3 July

Ballot results on NHS pay in Scotland are due in the next few days as we go press. Unison has recommended the 4% offer to its members; RCN and GMB are advising rejection. There has been minimal campaigning during the ballot and so the turnout is likely to be low. Whichever way the vote goes, work will be needed to involve members and raise the activity levels in workplaces. In England and Wales activity on pay in health has gone into a lull as the drawn out Pay Review Board process continues. The Pay Review Board is now expected to report in mid to late June, rather than May as previously...

Break the world vaccine logjam!

Just over 13 Covid jabs have been given per 100 people, world-wide, as of 25 April. That’s about five more vaccinations per 100 people since 1 April. Over April, vaccination levels have increased, but only in a straight line, about 0.2 more jabs per 100 each day, not exponentially, as they need to. At current rates it will take more than a year to give everyone in the world one dose, and two years to give everyone full vaccination, even taking into account the contribution of the Janssen single-dose vaccine. Probably long before then, the vaccine protection for those who have already had jabs...

Class struggle in the Age of Covid — Conference document

Although it is to be hoped that vaccination programmes are successful in substantially suppressing the virus, it is likely to be many years before Covid fades into the background to such an extent that anything resembling a pre-Covid “normality” returns. Working-class struggle against the hegemony of market logic and the profit motive, to assert the interests of social and ecological need, is imperative. We fight for the labour movement to take up demands implied by the pandemic, such as: Full sickness and isolation pay for all workers, regardless of contractual status - a demand we will...

Covid: social battles still needed

The world’s measured Covid death rate has gone through a new surge since mid-March. It may be levelling out now, but is still higher than at any time except a peak around late January. Covid is not fading yet. The latest big spike is in India, from early March, where rates have risen from a low in early March to become even higher than India’s previous worst time, in mid-September 2020. Some scientists had thought that some of India’s big cities, at least, had so many people with some immunity from previous infection that non-immunity would be scarce enough to make chains of infection peter...

Reject the 4% sop!

Nurses United, an activist group within the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), is campaigning for rejection of the 4% pay offer made to NHS workers in Scotland. Like the NHS Workers Say No group, it is campaigning for a 15% rise. The GMB union is balloting in Scotland between 12 April and 5 May, Unison between 15 April and 7 May, and the RCN between 16 April and 6 May. Unison has called on members to accept the 4%, GMB and RCN to reject. The Royal College of Midwives and Unite are putting the deal to their members with no recommendation. NHS workers have suffered real-terms pay cuts of up to 20%...

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