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Hundreds of junior doctors and supporters rally amid calls for joint workers’ action

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Issue 2498
Junior doctors and supporters rallied in Hackney on the second day of a two-day strike
Junior doctors and supporters rallied in Hackney on the second day of a two-day strike (Pic: Socialist Worker)

Up to 200 junior doctors and trade unionists from across east London rallied outside Hackney Town Hall this lunchtime, Thursday.

This sort of support has been crucial to keeping up junior doctors’ morale during the British Medical Association’s (BMA) 48-hour walkout that ends today.

Fiona, a junior doctor from the Royal London Hospital, told Socialist Worker, “Everyone was concerned on Wednesday whether we’d have support. But momentum is picking up.

“Lots of teachers came to show support and one took a load of leaflets for their school.”

The rally in Hackney was part of a bigger push to organise solidarity.Trade unionists have organised a junior doctors’ support group inside the hospital and junior doctors have spoken at workplaces.

Poppy is a junior doctor at Hackney’s Homerton Hospital. She told Socialist Worker, “Knowing we have support and that people know we’re fighting to save the NHS spurs us on.”

At Whipps Cross Hospital in north east London health campaigners have set up a support group. Around 100 junior doctors and their supporters rallied outside the hospital there yesterday and up to 50 today. Health workers, many on their lunch break, were among those bringing solidarity.


Junior doctors on strike at Whipps Cross Hospital

Junior doctors on strike at Whipps Cross Hospital (Pic: Socialist Worker)

Junior doctor Amira told Socialist Worker, “Public support has been heartwarming. It encourages us to keep going in our fight for the safety of our patients.”

These marches were successful because of a combination of initiative from other workers and a call by the BMA.

Many junior doctors said they felt the tide was “beginning to turn”. The Tories are wracked by crisis. The BMA is upping its industrial action later this month and the NUT teachers’ union is set to ballot for strikes.

Tory health secretary Jeremy Hunt is intent on pushing through this dangerous new contract. But a united fightback could topple him.

Sue, a local NUT member, told the rally, “We can be in no doubt about the seriousness of this fight.But the Tories are reeling from crisis to crisis. If we all got together and gave them one almighty push, we could get rid of this government.”

Danny, a BMA rep, told the rally, “Never forget that we have the power to win this battle.”

The BMA has rightly escalated its industrial action on 26 and 27 April to two ten-hour “full walkouts”. This means consultants not junior doctors providing emergency cover.

They have shown their determination to fight—now trade unionists must build the sort of solidarity that will make sure they win.

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