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On 8 August, NHS workers and supporters across the country will demonstrate to demand a 15% pay rise, something like but better than what France has already paid its health workers.
The Labour Party would help on jobs more by backing these protests than it is doing by its “jobs, jobs, jobs” campaign launched on 31 July.
In the coming months, millions of furloughed workers are set to lose their jobs. And even more if it proves necessary to shut pubs and cafés again, as it may do. Over half a million young people leaving school and university are searching for jobs which aren’t there.
What we need:
• Extend the furlough and self-employed support schemes, drop the reintroduction of “conditionality” on Universal Credit, introduce a fallback emergency basic or minimum income as a safety-net.
• Shorten the working week with no loss of pay, to create more jobs with a standard working week of four days or 32 hours.
• Expand directly-employed public sector jobs in health, social care and other public services. Expand council house-building.
• Take the manufacturing and aviation giants declaring job cuts into public ownership, and reorganise their equipment and workforce skills towards green and socially useful production; take the banking and financial sector into public ownership and democratic control to restart investment.
Despite escalating unemployment, the NHS is short 100,000 workers. Social care needs more workers to decasualise and stabilise its staffing. Local government needs to reverse the job cuts of recent years.
Jobless bar workers cannot necessarily fill nursing vacancies, for example. But 50,000 registered nurses are currently not working in nursing. A proper pay rise and better conditions would draw many of them back into nursing, and draw many into training.
The official Labour campaign, by contrast, exists only in the media and on the web, not on the streets, and is vague. “Reform (?) the furlough scheme”. “Back our (?) businesses” with a £1.7 bn business aid fund. “Additional support to areas forced into local lockdowns”. “Boost sick pay” (how much?) “Invest in infrastructure, accelerate progress towards a zero-carbon economy”.
Boost public service jobs and pay! Fight the pandemic, fight for good jobs for all, and combat climate change at the same time!