Socialist Worker

NHS revolt forces minister out

by Tricia McCafferty Inverclyde hospitals campaigner
Issue No. 1922

POPULAR PROTEST has claimed the scalp of Scottish health minister Malcolm Chisholm.

He was dumped on Monday in a reshuffle of the Scottish Executive, which took place against a backdrop of mass protests over NHS cuts across Scotland.

But instead of ending the cuts policy, Scottish first minister Jack McConnell has given the health post to his right hand man, former finance minister Andy Kerr.

If the Labour/Lib Dem executive think that this game of political tag will be enough to buy off the protests, they’ve got another think coming.

In Inverclyde we have had a demonstration of 6,000 people against hospital closures and downgrading. We are not going to tiptoe away now.

Politicians from all the mainstream parties are now trying to jump on the NHS bandwagon. But they do not understand that people do not want more of the market, or fake debates about choice.

We want a properly funded health service that meets people’s needs.

It’s not that different to what our grandparents fought for half a century ago when the NHS was founded.

What has happened to Chisholm should inspire everyone to step up that fight in the months to come.


New name, so strike is illegal

A COURT injunction obtained by the EWS rail company on Monday of this week revealed the absurdity of the anti-union laws New Labour is proud to leave in place.

Bosses claimed a strike ballot by the RMT union was illegal because they had renamed part of the business EWS-I and transferred some workers to it.

The same bosses, the same workers, the same company, and the same issues over pay and conditions—but a cynical trick can force a union to suspend a strike and spend thousands of pounds on lawyers.

Management at London Metropolitan University also used a legal technicality recently to get an injunction against a strike.

Government ministers told the TUC and Labour Party conferences to be grateful for “new rights” for workers.

The lecturers in London and the rail workers at EWS know the reality is laws stacked in favour of the bosses.

The Wembley construction workers who fought and won in the face of legal threats last month showed a far more realistic approach than those who tell us to seek partnership with the government, on its terms.


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News
Sat 9 Oct 2004, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1922
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