Socialist Worker

LETTERS - health workers need to back indefinite strike in Bradford

Issue No. 2668

Strikers in Bradford last week

Strikers in Bradford last week (Pic: Neil Terry)


It is good to see that health workers in Bradford have voted for an all-out strike against privatisation from Monday 26 August. (Socialist Worker, 14 August).

The unions at my hospital, North Bristol NHS Trust, fought off a similar plan to transfer workers to a “wholly-owned subsidiary”.

While the trust is the only shareholder of the company, workers wouldn’t be on the NHS payroll any more.

Our campaign was bold and named what was happening as privatisation, which I think affronted some managers.

But if you’re not in the NHS, then it is privatisation.

The campaign was an initiative by the joint union committee, made up of Unison, Unite and GMB, and involved a lot of people.

The union reps made sure that rank-and-file members were really part of it. Often it’s the estates and facilities department—cleaners, porters and other support staff—who are affected.

But if workers from unions and departments that aren’t under threat also take part, the more confident people will be able to argue against privatisation plans and for action to stop them.

Management said they would hold off until 2019.

The NHS Improvement regulator issued guidance last summer, advising trusts to pause setting up new wholly-owned subsidiaries. But the new guidance isn’t a legal block.

Until the rules around wholly-owned subsidiaries change at a national level, hospital bosses will look at setting up new ones again.

So news of people taking industrial action is really useful for health workers worried about facing a similar attack.

All the health unions should publicise the all-out strike in Bradford, and donate money to the workers’ strike fund.

If you can turn the tide against feeling that attacks are inevitable, it will make us stronger to fight against them.

Gwyneth Powell-Davies, Unite union at Bristol North NHS Trust (personal capacity)


Green politicians often side with the bosses

Green MP Caroline Lucas proposed a national unity cabinet that would include MPs who support austerity and fracking.

It is a timely reminder of the class collaborationist politics of Green leaders.

As bitter experience in Ireland and Germany has shown, once in office the Greens have supported privatisation and attacks on working class living standards.

And they have to supported war and the drive for new fossil fuel extraction.

As socialists, we should work with Green supporters on protests and picket lines.

We should work to persuade them and other workers that only socialist politics provide the alternative to a profit-driven capitalist system that’s the primary cause of climate change.

Name and address provided


Hats off to supporters of Chris Williamson

Three venues in Brighton cancelled Chris Williamson MP’s talk on what a socialist economy would look like earlier this month.

This was the result of political pressure from the Labour right.

But around 120 people turned out to an outdoor rally in Regency Park. Williamson spoke about his long record of anti-racism, and the need for an irreversible shift in wealth and power in Britain.

And he told people that we need to build a grassroots movement to support Jeremy Corbyn.

The organisers and Williamson are to be commended for their courage in persisting in holding the meeting despite the threats and pressure mounted against them.

Christian Hogsbjerg, Brighton


Migrants are suffering

It’s working class and poor people who suffer most under the Tory racist immigration laws.

Home secretary Priti Patel said all migrants will have to have a job with a guaranteed salary of over £36,000 a year if they want to come to Britain.

This excludes even many better paid workers.

And the Tories talk of a “skills-based immigration” system would further harm poorer migrants.

Those migrants deemed to be “low skilled” would find it harder to come to Britain. And if they did, they would be denied basic rights, such as access to many health services.

Kristina Fischer, East London


Race hate in El Paso

Donald Trump inflicted himself on El Paso in the wake of the mass shooting by a far right figure.

When Trump last visited the Texas city six months ago, he whipped up his audience with a racist rant.

He claimed, “In the last two years alone, Ice immigration officers made 226,000 arrests. It includes those charged or convicted of approximately, 100,000 assaults, 30,000 sex crimes and 4,000 murders.”

The crowd chanted back, “Build that wall!” The figures were fabricated, but Trump’s message was clear.

It was an open incitement to hatred, violence and murder against 80 percent of the El Paso population.

John Murphy, Stockport


Blame the councils too

I read your article on the 50,000 children that rely on care from councils deemed inadequate (Socialist Worker, 14 August).

This isn’t always down to the Tory government though.

Some local authorities have children’s services that are rated inadequate because of poor scrutiny, oversight and accountability of the service.

Management have created an oppressive and bullying culture.

And they have pursued cuts not due to their budgets shrinking but to inflate their CVs.

Neil Terry, On Facebook


Socialists, eat your greens!

Jasmine Fischer’s letter last week says we should change the system, not what’s on our plate, to save the planet (Socialist Worker, 14 August).

But it’s something that almost everyone in the developed world can do overnight to have a dramatic impact on their carbon footprint.

Mike Bevan, On Facebook


Centrists have a new dream

I see the centrists are trying to make a new home for themselves with the proposal for a “national unity government”.

Jedd Platts, On Facebook


Lexit won’t stop Frontex

Your argue that Frontex border guards service shows that the European Union (EU) is institutionally racist (Socialist Worker, 14 August).

The documents that have come out do show abuse by Frontex guards and the EU’s immigration policy has left refugees to drown in the Mediterranean.

But how will Britain leaving the EU help the refugees?

It won’t lead to the end of Frontex. If Britain stays in, we have a better chance to influence EU immigration policy.

Nina Fenwick, West London


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