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Letters—Despite U-turn, Tory vaccine mandate plans have been damaging

An NHS worker says Tory plans to enforce a vaccine mandate would have been a disaster in her workplace

NHS pay protests last year (Guy Smallman)

The government might have made a U-turn over Covid vaccines being mandatory for NHS and care workers, but the damage has already been done. 

The impact of the vaccine mandate has been horrendous and divisive at the hospital where I work, even though it won’t be carried out now. 

Before, workers who didn’t want the vaccine just kept quiet. It was their own private business. They weren’t trying to discourage others from getting it. 

After the government announced that a vaccine would be a condition of employment, our hospital called unvaccinated workers in for meetings and sent weekly emails. 

Because of the threat to their jobs, some workers did get the vaccine, but they will have felt forced to. Some people rightfully asked, “Why was it OK for me to work in 2020, on a Covid ward, without PPE, when no one was vaccinated, but now it’s an issue?” 

Even after the U-turn, it’s still all anyone can think about. And the division is only adding to a service that is already on a knife-edge. We are currently in a recruitment crisis. There are vacancies everywhere with no one to fill them.

Our hospital is offering £80 extra per shift for qualified workers and £50 for unqualified workers but still can’t get enough staff because people are so exhausted. 

One of the most heartbreaking consequences of the mandatory vaccine plan is that it has sown division between black and white workersMany of those who are unvaccinated at my hospital are black, which is likely down to a  distrust due to medicine’s racist history. 

But not all colleagues understand why some might be wary of vaccinations.  Before last the end of last year it wasn’t a big deal. Now everyone’s vaccine status has been forced out into the open, and people are really upset. The Tories’ vaccine mandate plan has done real damage.

Jordan Rivera

East London


How we won in Newham

The victory for workers in the NEU union in their recent dispute at Newham Sixth Form College is not just important for those directly involved. It is a win for the local community, education workers across Britain and the whole trade union movement. 

It shows that when workers unite, it is possible to win significant gains.  They can succeed not just on the local issues affecting them but also on the bigger issues which are driven by the ruling class, such as privatisation and cuts. 

Unity, solidarity and workers’ collective power were key in keeping the strike solid until the very end. These socialist practices helped sustain both the picket lines and strikers’ sense of momentum. 

Strikers not only found a new sense of power and unity on the picket lines. They were also motivated by the steady stream of support they received from NEU members in schools and district groups. Visits from other unions such as Unite, PCS and UCU also gave strikers a boost. 

This solidarity that strikers received from socialists in the trade union movement, the community and from local groups was vital in supporting the strike. It showed strikers that their collective voice was reaching a much wider audience.

Rob Behan 

Newham


Fight these cuts to delivery workers’ pay

I have been a Just Eat driver for over three years, and for much of the time I have enjoyed the job. But recently our employer, Stuart delivery, has changed our payment model. This has proved to be a huge strain on our income.

We are having to work harder and longer for less. Without living costs and fuel prices going up, the pressure to earn enough has also gone up. 

Many of us have young children which we don’t spend enough time with because of our pay cut. I have worked every single day for the last two months just so I can have a little extra after my expenses. 

This is why many drivers have decided to strike because they feel let down by their employer. 

Ahmad 

Sheffield


Sexism meant rape victim was vilified

Two years ago a gang rape case in Cyprus hit the headlines. This week the Cypriot Supreme Court determined that the woman prosecuted for false allegations in 2020 was not given a fair trial by the judge. 

But she should have never have been criminalised. The woman, who was held in police questioning for more than seven hours, without even a lawyer or translator present, was criminalised by a sexist system. 

Her “crime” was bravely speaking out against her rapists while on holiday in Ayia Napa. The 12 Israeli men charged were witnessed chanting ‘’The Brit is a whore’ as they celebrated their acquittal with Champagne. 

The case saw activists take to the streets to protest what has been described as a trial of “gender stereotypes, classic rape myths and victim bashing’’.

And back in Britain the number of rapes reported are increasing, yet prosecution rates are falling, with many reports not even making it to court. Institutional sexism is at the heart of this.We must actively fight for justice for all victims of rape and sexual assault. 

Blythe Taylor 

Stoke-on-Trent


Shatter monuments to slavers 

A “pioneer” of the west African slave trade, Sir Nicholas Crispe, is celebrated in “spiritual” stained glass in the local library in Hammersmith, west London. And a road is named after him.

It’s as if his ghost still haunts the borough. The memorials to Crispe and Edward Colston in Bristol are capitalist lies. 

They show these men as “noble” and “upright”. The reality is that both of them were crooks and murderers.We toppled Colston.  Now let us shatter Crispe.

Zekria Ibrahimi

Hammersmith


This payment will not help

The £200 one-off payment for fuel bills the Tories are putting forward is nonsense, and people will have to jump through hoops to get it. Something is going to have to give.

Joanna Wright 

On Facebook


Fuel prices— climate issue

Rising energy bills must be a call to arms for the climate movement.It must strengthen the argument that we need a just transition for workers and a switch to renewables right now. 

Olivia Meyers 

Hull


Bosses burn the planet

We are constantly being reminded of the dangerous and destructive practices of the fossil fuel industry.Every day it feels like I see a new story about a gas or oil leak. 

The bosses are killing our planet and making huge profit in the first place.It boiled my blood that Shell announced masses of profits with energy bills set to go.We must break these companies before they destroy everything. 

Ben Garnham 

Via Email

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