Socialist Worker

Solidarity keeps junior doctors' strike going strong as walkout enters second day

by Tomáš Tengely-Evans
Issue No. 2494

Junior doctors were joined by other trade unionists at a rally outside UCH hospital in central London yesterday

Junior doctors were joined by other trade unionists at a rally outside UCH hospital in central London yesterday (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Junior doctors' determination to resist a dangerous new contract remained firm as they began the second day of their 48-hour walkout today, Thursday.

Sarah, a junior doctor at Homerton Hospital in east London, said, "Public support has been really good just like during the last strikes.

"People are signing petitions and coming up to us saying they support us."

A poll yesterday showed 65 percent supported the doctors going on strike. The number against the strike fell from 22 percent last time to 17 percent.

Striking junior doctors across England showed their readiness to keep fighting on the picket lines.

Junior doctors were upbeat on the picket line in Nottingham

Junior doctors were upbeat on the picket line in Nottingham (Pic: Richard Buckwell)


 
A junior doctor on strike outside Homerton hospital in east London

A junior doctor on strike outside Homerton hospital in east London (Pic: Sasha Simic)


Around 50 doctors joined the picket line outside the MRI hospital in Manchester. And at least another 50 picketed in Nottingham before petitioning for support in the city centre.

Katey Wilkinson, a rep from the doctors’ British Medical Association (BMA) in Scarborough said, “We need to keep coming out on strike to show them were not giving in.

“We need to maintain support from the public and support from other unions.”

Last month Tory health secretary Jeremy Hunt imposed a new contract that rips apart terms and conditions and puts patient safety at risk.

Many junior doctors said the imposition after two one-day strikes was a "blow".

Sarah said, "It's hard work keeping up enthusiasm, but the trade union support has been key.

"It's helped keep morale up. It's good to know that people support us and proves we're fighting for everyone."

Danny, a BMA rep, added, "That support from other unions that are more used to campaigning has been invaluable to us."

At the University College Hospital (UCH) in central London a 200-strong rally and march yesterday boosted strikers.

Sana, a UCH junior doctor, said that "people are still going strong. 

"All the people who I've spoken to support us and it was lovely to have support from the other trade unions yesterday," she said

Last night junior doctors in south London organised a 150-strong vigil for the NHS and marched from St Thomas Hospital to Whitehall.

Suzan, a nurse from Macclesfield in the North West of England, had come specifically for the protest to "save the NHS".

She said, "Many of my colleagues and friends are junior doctors and they're stressed and sick and crying in corridors.

"This is everyone's fight and responsibility. We need to stand up and support them."

Simon, a junior doctor in Manchester said, “I feel very supported by those who have come down to the picket lines to show solidarity with us in this battle for NHS.

“It’s key we ally with other public sector workers. We need to show it’s not just doctors versus the government. It's a fight for the whole public sector.”

Trade unionists and campaigners have used this strike to begin turning this widespread sympathy into practical solidarity.

But the TUC and union leaders need to do much more.

The TUC should call a national demonstration and Unison and the other health unions should immediately ballot their members.

Junior doctors in East London plan to march from the hospitals tonight.

Danny said, “The march is to show people there's an issue and that the NHS is under threat.

“This goes way beyond the junior doctors. It's about defending the NHS - that's why I got into this.”Around 50 junior doctors joined the picket line outside the MRI hospital in Manchester

Around 50 junior doctors joined the picket line outside the MRI hospital in Manchester (Pic: Lewis Nielsen)


 


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