Answer Tory plans to use military as strike breakers with a general strike to kick them out!

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With nurses and thousands of NHS workers planning to take national strike action next month over their demands for pay increases to protect them from the massive inflationary cost-of-living crisis, the Tories are preparing to use the Army to act as a state strike-breaking force.

On Monday, reports emerged in the press that health and defence officials are engaged in drawing up a ‘contingency strategy’ which involves activating the Military Aid to the Civil Authorities protocol (MACA).

With ambulance drivers, paramedics, cleaners, porters, catering workers and junior doctors poised to join nurses in striking in the coming period, the Tories are gearing up to use Army medics, along with drivers and other military personnel, as scabs to try to cover the jobs of hundreds of thousands of striking NHS workers.

Both prime minister Rishi Sunak and Tory health secretary Steve Barclay have made it clear that there will be no increased offer to nurses, that their claim for a 17% pay increase is ‘simply unaffordable’ and any offer over the paltry 4% on the table would only encourage more workers’ pay demands and fuel inflation.

The working class are being blamed for the massive inflationary crisis gripping British capitalism, and when workers fight for wage increases to protect them from its ravages, they are to be met with the full force of the capitalist state.

The plan behind the use of the Army was revealed by a government source to the press on Monday and that plan is not to run the NHS – something that the military is incapable of – but to sit out the strikes and prolong them until public sentiment turns against striking nurses.

This drew an angry response from the doctors’ union, the British Medical Association (BMA), with their chairman, Professor Philip Banfield, saying: ‘It’s outrageous that the government is more interested in hoping for a change in public sentiment than it is in offering a real solution to nurses’ pay. By continuing to refuse to negotiate a fair pay deal, ministers are prolonging the misery for nursing staff and patients alike.’

He continued: ‘People should be in no doubt that the government’s shallow tactics will be to blame when they struggle to access services this winter.’

Professor Banfield concluded: ‘While billions of pounds are being spent on temporary measures like locum staff to stick a plaster on the dire NHS workforce crisis, the government is telling everyone that public sector pay rises are unaffordable,’ before adding: ‘Patients know the value of the healthcare staff who care for them and won’t be fooled by this dangerous rhetoric.’

The working class won’t be fooled by a Tory government that can find trillions of pounds to bail out the banks from collapse, is prepared to lavish £2.3 billion on military aid to the Ukrainian government to prolong the imperialist war to weaken Russia and, as Banfield says, spend billions of pounds on private agency staff to cover the appalling workforce crisis – a crisis caused by the poverty-level wages inflicted on nurses and NHS workers by successive Tory governments.

Now, the Tories are preparing to use the state forces to break not just the strike by NHS workers but every strike. This is a warning to railway, postal and every worker taking or preparing to take strike action in defence of their pay and conditions.

This is a fight to the finish between the working class and a weak Tory government and a bankrupt capitalist system determined to make workers and their families pay the cost of recession and inflation by driving them into the gutter of poverty.

The urgent requirement today is for the immense power of the working class, a force more powerful than the Tories or the capitalist state, to assert itself.

The TUC must be forced to stand with NHS workers by immediately organising an indefinite general strike to bring down the Tories, and go forward to a workers’ government that will nationalise the banks and major industries under workers’ management, going forward to a planned socialist economy.

Socialist revolution is the only way forward for the working class today.