Category Archives: Strike Action

No ‘unsustainable’ pressure on the NHS? Then why are GPs threatening to strike?

Sajid Javid: behind the smug smile there appears to be no intelligence at all.

The following tweets appeared next to each other on my timeline:

It’s just more evidence that Sajid Javid was lying when he said pressure on the NHS due to Covid-19 was “not unsustainable” – as if we needed it, after Stephen Powis contradicted him during his own press conference on Wednesday:

GPs are under severe pressure due to the ongoing Covid-19 crisis – worsened by the government’s refusal to take action to reduce infections, in the face of increases past 50,000 a day and the worst death rate since March.

But Health Secretary Sajid Javid wants to compel them to hold face-to-face appointments with anybody who wants one – and is threatening to publicly humiliate surgeries that don’t meet targets he imposes.

As a result,

GPs in England are threatening industrial action in protest at the government’s attempt to force them to see any patient who wants a face-to-face appointment.

The British Medical Association’s GPs committee voted unanimously to reject the plan by the health secretary, Sajid Javid.

The doctors’ union has decided to hold a ballot on possible industrial action, which could result in family doctors at the 6,600 practices in England reducing the work they undertake.

So Javid’s interference is likely to make it less possible to see a GP personally. What a stupid way to run a health service.

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New low for Starmer: Workers at the Party of the Workers are to go on strike

For the many? It seems “the many” are deserting the Labour Party in their thousands, in disgust at Keir Starmer.

Staff at Labour Party HQ who are members of trade unions have voted overwhelmingly to strike, in protest at the plan to sack 90 of their number and replace them with short-term contractors in exactly the kind of ‘fire-and-rehire’ deal that leader Keir Starmer claims to oppose.

It is suggested that they voted to strike by a majority of three to one:

It’s doubtful that this has anything to do with Starmer’s attack on the unions (he has spoken out against Unite’s new boss Sharon Graham, while Bakers’ union BFAWU boss Ian Hodson is in danger of auto-exclusion, apparently on a trumped-up charge) – but it is also doubtful that it will do their relationship any good.

Labour was originally formed to give working-class people representation in Parliament.

The fact that the party’s current leadership sees nothing wrong with betraying its own employees – and therefore its very reason for existing – is more damning than anything This Writer can say about it.

I just hope it goes the distance and they all walk out between September 25 and 29 (at least) – because those are the dates of the Labour Party Conference.

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Johnson and Hancock are jeopardising Covid recovery by prioritising useless ‘Test and Trace’ over hardworking NHS staff

At breaking point: the UK’s National Health Service. The Tory government could make it better by paying NHS staff what they’re worth – but Boris Johnson and Matt Hancock have spaffed billions on Dido Harding’s useless and lazy ‘Test and Trace’ white elephant instead.

It has been calculated that a one per cent pay rise for NHS staff will cost around £82 million per year, or 0.22 per cent of the £37 billion that has been spaffed on Test and Trace as run by Dido Harding.

The full 12.5 per cent pay rise for NHS staff would cost £1.025 billion – only 2.75 per cent of the spending on Test and Trace.

And Test and Trace has been useless. Employees notoriously spent their days doing nothing at all – and being paid £1,000 per day to do it, while NHS staff slaved in conditions that made them highly vulnerable to Covid-19 because the Tories couldn’t be bothered to secure PPE for them.

Many NHS staff are working overtime or using credit to afford essential bills, visiting food banks so they can eat, and struggling with both mental and physical health problems.

Tory Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s attitude seems to be, “So what? I’ve offered you one per cent, which is more than you thought you were going to get!”

He and other Tories have made false claims that nurses have actually received far more, already, than they’re saying.

But this is nonsense. The fact that they cannot afford to survive is clear evidence that they are not paid fairly.

Stunningly, Death Health Secretary Matt Hancock has defended the one per cent pittance, saying it is

“what we think is affordable”

Could the UK have afforded the deaths of millions if those doctors, nurses and support staff had not been there to keep Covid victims alive? Of course not. Hancock was talking gibberish. He rarely does anything else.

This Site broke news of health professionals’ disgust at the lack of respect being shown to them on Thursday – before any of the mainstream news sites. At the time, strike action was being demanded by only one group – Nurses United UK.

Now strike calls are being taken up by the British Medical Association, Unite, the Royal Colleges of Nursing and Midwives and Unison.

And what if an NHS strike happens before Boris Johnson’s arbitrary deadline for reopening the UK economy – which is already looking shaky because health professionals are planning for another wave of Covid admissions in July?

All his plans will be dashed – because he decided to pay Dido Harding and her minions to sit on their fat backsides rather than supporting our hard-working NHS staff.

Source: NHS pay: More health unions join backlash against 1% pay rise – BBC News

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Mainstream media finally notice nurse strike threat – after being prompted by This Site?


Isn’t it odd that the BBC only realised that nurses were threatening to go on strike over low pay after Vox Political ran a story on it?

I published my piece yesterday lunchtime (March 4) and the BBC came out with its story (link below) just before midnight.

I’m not going to make extravagant claims about being first with the news because I had found the story on the website Nursing Notes, where it had been published on March 3.

It had taken the BBC at least a day and a half to realise this was a major news story (it was the lead on the Corporation’s politics page when it was published).

Would the BBC ever have mentioned it at all, if I hadn’t picked it up and published it on my little social media site?

I don’t know. The implications for news reporting in the UK if the answer is “no” are terrifying.

The message for you is simple: don’t rely on the BBC and the other mainstream media giants for your news because you won’t get it.

All you’ll get is what has been passed as fit for you to be spoonfed, plus whatever media bosses realise has gained traction elsewhere and can’t be ignored.

If you want to know what’s really going on, come to This Site – and the others like it.

Source: Nurses’ union anger over ‘pitiful’ 1% NHS pay rise – BBC News

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Nurses urged to strike after Sunak offered them nothing. But how can they?

Undervalued, underpaid, overstressed: nurses need a fair deal but they won’t get it unless they strike. How can they do that without harming patients?

It’s the classic dilemma for nurses: how can they campaign for fair pay and conditions when striking may harm NHS patients?

Tory Chancellor Rishi Sunak spat in the faces of nurses across the UK in his Budget speech yesterday (March 3), which did not even mention the National Health Service.

It was a deliberate insult to the healthcare workers who have suffered and sacrificed – some losing their lives – in the face of government failure to provide even the most basic protective equipment when it was needed.

It seems Tories think applause is all that nurses deserve. Meanwhile they are working overtime or using credit to be able to pay essential bills, and using food banks to be able to eat.

They have lost both their mental and physical health, struggling to come to terms with the horrors they have witnessed while trying to cope with Covid-19, underfunded, understaffed and underequipped by the Tories.

This is a national scandal.

Campaigning organisation Nurses United UK says health staff need to think seriously about strike action. Health unions have been demanding an immediate – restorative – pay rise of between 12.5 and 15 per cent.

That’s just to bring pay back up to the level that nurses have lost in the 11 years since the Tories took office.

The Tories, it seems, consider this demand to be “one for the fairies“.

But then, as Nurses United lead organiser Anthony Johnson pointed out – it must be better than giving billions to Tory donors in return for nothing at all:

This Government is weak – that is why they u-turn so often. They know that people are watching and demanding that rather than giving billions to their donors, they invest in the people of this country.

But we come back to the crux of the matter: if nurses strike, they won’t harm the Tory government – they’ll harm sick people who don’t deserve worse treatment.

Perhaps targeted strike action – to ruin Tory press junkets in hospitals or withdraw coverage for Tory projects – is the answer?

Source: Pay campaigner asks nurses to ‘seriously consider industrial action’ | NursingNotes

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Victory in fight against ‘fire and rehire’ by British Airways after Unite union secures deal

This is great news at a time when companies seem keen to ramp up the stress on employees who already have enough worry with Covid-19.

British Airways has agreed to end so-called “fire and rehire” employment practices.

The company came to the deal after nine days of strike action over the Christmas/New Year period which the union United said caused “overwhelming disruption to the company’s cargo services”.

Unite had proposed a urther nine days of strike action to start on January 22 but the first three days were called off at the last minute, after progress was made at the negotiations.

Another round of strikes due to begin this weekend has also been called off.

The deal is as follows:

  • End of “fire and rehire” (the last area of BA where this was a threat)

  • Workers will revert to previous contractual provisions subject to agreed changes

  • No compulsory redundancies

  • Improved pay protection for staff whose pay sits above the new agreed rates

  • An increase in pay for a significant proportion of staff

  • Members who did not sign the new contract and were dismissed will be offered their jobs back on the agreed terms.

Unite’s members will have to be balloted on the deal, and it is understood that they are likely to accept it.

It’s a great victory for Unite, but let’s not minimise the step that BA has taken at a time when other firms are opportunistically forcing employees to re-apply to do the same job they’re already doing, but for less money and with fewer work-related protections.

BA is setting an example, and even if nobody else follows it, let’s applaud that choice.

Source: Unite ends BA ‘fire and rehire’ dispute by securing deal to avoid forthcoming cargo strike action

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Universal Credit staff to strike this week – but not over the state of the so-called ‘benefit’

If you think Department for Work and Pensions staff in Wolverhampton, Walsall and Stockport are striking over the appalling state of the so-called ‘benefit’ they are employed to enforce… think again.

They’re striking to get an improvement in their own working conditions.

Apparently people being forced to suffer because of the conditions forced on them will just have to fend for themselves. Charming!

According to Welfare Weekly, “Universal Credit staff working at two centres in Walsall and Wolverhampton will take two further days of strike action this week, after losing patience with the government in their campaign for more staff and better working conditions.

“The walk-out will take place between Tuesday 28 and Wednesday 29, after the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) refused to meet the demands of workers.

“Staff walked out in March 2019, accusing the DWP of treating them with “utter contempt”.”

So they should understand how UC claimants feel, then.

The Mirror has said the strike will be joined by workers at a call centre in Stockport.

Organiser the PCS union has said the action has been motivated by cuts, workload increases and the victimisation of union representatives.

It says this is making it impossible for its members to properly support UC claimants.

The DWP, on the other hand, has said staffing levels are sufficient but it will monitor the situation and hold regular meetings with the union, in order to resolve the issues.

Meanwhile, UC claimants will undoubtedly continue to suffer with benefit claims rejected on false pretences. Will the DWP try to use employees’ claims of overwork as an excuse?

Source: Universal Credit staff poised for further walk-outs

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What will Tories do if Theresa May refuses to say when she’ll quit as PM? Strike?

Hilarious: Conservatives used up all their “no confidence” options in supporting Mrs May. Now they want her to go but have no way of ejecting her.

The UK’s anti-trade union party might end up adopting trade union tactics to rid itself of its unwanted leader if all else fails.

Tories are holding an emergency meeting of the National Conservative Convention on June 15, when around 800 senior Tory activists will vote on a “no confidence” motion against Theresa May.

But the vote will be non-binding. The Conservative Party blew its chance to force Mrs May out when MPs supported her during party and Parliamentary “no confidence” votes in December 2018 and January this year.

So, if she refuses to be pushed out, what will they do?

It seems the only options left to them are those used by trade unions – tactics which Tories have loudly and consistently deplored.

Perhaps we’ll see them impose a “work to rule” protest in which ministers will only be in their offices from 9am until 5pm. That would be amusing, considering Parliament often sits until 10pm or later.

Maybe they’ll even go on strike. That would be very exciting, wouldn’t it?

The chairman of the Tory backbench 1922 committee, Sir Graham Brady, is already being described as a “shop steward” (see below). I wonder how he feels about that?

The whole fiasco highlights the hypocrisy of the Tory position – not simply in having supported Mrs May for the sake of holding onto power, which was the meaning of the December and January confidence votes.

It also shows the poverty of their argument against unions, now that union-style behaviour is all that is left to them.

Tory activists have confirmed the date for an unprecedented new no-confidence vote against Theresa May.

The ballot of around 800 activists will be held on Saturday 15 June, local chiefs have been told.

The vote will not be binding, but activists believe it will pile pressure on the Prime Minister to quit.

She is already meeting Sir Graham Brady, the shop steward for Tory MPs, today as pressure mounts for her to name a date for her departure.

The vote will be held at an emergency meeting of the National Conservative Convention, the forum for senior Conservative activists across the country.

It was triggered after more than 65 chairmen and women of local Tory associations signed a petition demanding the summit.

Source: Date CONFIRMED for Tory activists’ no confidence vote against Theresa May – Mirror Online

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Royal Mail workers have voted to strike by a huge majority

What are the Tories going to do now?

They ruled that strikes would only be legal if more than 50 per cent of a workforce voted in favour. Here are the stats on the Royal Mail strike ballot:

So posties are going on strike. And who can blame them?

The CWU believes it is a “watershed” moment for unions as well as the Royal Mail, which it has accused of following a “relentless” programme of cost-cutting to maximise short-term profits and shareholder returns.

The union accused the company of “unilaterally” closing its defined benefit, or final salary, pension scheme, with new entrants going into an “inferior” scheme which will leave them in “pensioner poverty”.

The union is also in dispute over pay and issues such as delivery office closures.

The union’s deputy general Secretary Terry Pullinger said: “This ballot result is hugely significant and demonstrates a strength of feeling that can only be translated as a massive vote of no confidence in the managerial leadership of the Royal Mail Group and the direction that they advocate.

“Any sense of vocational spirit and working together with management has been lost in a climate of fear and insecurity. This massive failure in trust has created a breakdown in relationships and a toxic environment where working together to solve difficult problems has become almost impossible.

“The managerial leadership has failed and should resign or be sacked. This is a dispute about honour and we refuse to simply stand aside.”

Source: Royal Mail faces first national strike since it was privatised


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Nuclear workers will strike after Tory promises on pensions prove worthless

Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) Aldermaston in Berkshire [Image: PA].

Here are another couple of arguments against privatisation: Private firms raid your pensions.

Oh, and a Tory government will always make promises about the conditions in which privatisation is taking place – and then those promises will be broken.

Usually at huge cost to workers, the state… anybody apart from the people responsible.

Nuclear workers will go on strike after this month, Unite union has confirmed

Workers at the Atomic Weapons Establishment are to stage two 48-hour strikes in a long-running dispute over pensions.

Unite said 600 of its members at AWE’s two sites at Aldermaston and Burghfield in Berkshire will walk out for 48 hours from January 18 and 30.

The union said workers felt “deeply betrayed” as promises made a quarter of a century ago guaranteeing their pensions, when they were transferred from the Ministry of Defence to the private sector, have been broken.

The union is protesting at plans to close the defined benefit scheme at the end of the month and replace it with a defined contribution one.

Source: Nuclear workers will strike as they vote for two 48-hour walkouts in row over pensions

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HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook