Socialist Worker

Junior doctors resolute on day 2 of their strike against dangerous contracts

by Tomáš Tengely-Evans
Issue No. 2498

Pickets at Southend hospital on the first day of the strike

Pickets at Southend hospital on the first day of the strike (Pic: Tim Sneller)

Junior doctors' determination to stop Tory health secretary Jeremy Hunt's imposition of a dangerous new contract has remained firm into the second day of their 48-hour walkout.

Kat, a junior doctor at the University College Hospital (UCH), said, "Our strike has been going really well. We've had a lot of support, possibly more than last time."

A new YouGov poll has also shown that nearly 50 percent of people back the junior doctors "full walkout" later this month.

Kat said, "With the junior doctors and teachers the public are starting to see through the government's spin."

Their fight is gaining momentum. The Tories remain weak and divided and the NUT teachers' union is also preparing to take on their plans to force all schools to become academies.

Megan, an NUT teachers' union member, joined the UCH picket line. "I'm here to show our solidarity with the junior doctors," she said "The government needs to start listening to people who actually work in public services."


Hunt and the right wing press are pumping out propaganda about "greedy doctors" putting patients' lives at risk.But the junior doctors walkouts are acting as a focal point for those who want to fight Tory attacks on the NHS.

Laura, who works in a nearby women's centre, said, "We all want, and need, the NHS to be free and for the junior doctors to have decent conditions."

Solid strike today at UCH

Solid strike today at UCH (Pic: Socialist Worker)

Trade unionists have been building support to try and turn this widespread sympathy into practical solidarity.

In south London a group of junior doctors and teachers went to two bus garages in Camberwell to build support for picket lines at the nearby King's College and Maudsley Hospital yesterday.

And people are setting up junior doctors' support groups to deepen these sorts of links.

But the TUC and most union leaders have given only rhetorical support.

Phil Graham, an Aslef train drivers' union rep, said, "I know the BMA aren't affiliated, but the TUC should be giving real support.

"TUC leader Frances O'Grady should be on the picket line."

The TUC should throw its weight behind the junior doctors and Unison and the other health unions should immediately ballot their members.

Trade unionists need to build more solidarity ahead of the BMA's two planned ten hour "full walkouts" on 26 and 27 April.

Yannis Gourtsoyannis, who sits on the BMA's junior doctors' committee, told Socialist Worker, "An important part of keeping up momentum as industrial action escalates is escalating grassroots events.

"Junior doctors see escalation as a last resort but our members will join the full walkout and further action in May and June if that's necessary."

London: Unite the Resistance solidarity meeting: Tuesday 12 April, 7pm, Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church, 235 Shaftesbury Ave, London WC2H 8EP

Speakers include junior doctors, FBU union general secretary Matt Wrack, Green Party leader Natalie Bennett and NUT deputy general secretary Kevin Courtney



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