AS the April 26th-27th strike action of the junior doctors approaches, the chorus of reproaches from the likes of Dame Sally Davies, Sir Bruce Keogh, the boss of NHS England, and Mac Armstrong, a former secretary of the BMA grow louder.
Davies, Britain’s Chief Medical Officer, said: ‘I urge every junior doctor to consider their patients and their professional responsibilities before taking such a drastic step.’ Keogh said they would be acting in an unethical and reckless way, while Mac Armstrong returned his BMA card.
It is obvious that the Tories are preparing a major witchhunt against the junior doctors. In fact, the Tories are responsible for the stage that this struggle has reached. They have imposed this struggle on the junior doctors, just as they imposed the new contract. They are imposing ‘risk’ on patients.
They are refusing all talks, and are determined to beat down the junior doctors, as a preliminary to imposing contracts throughout the NHS, and then imposing NHS privatisation – an imposition that will cause tens of thousands of early deaths. The Tories won’t talk, they are fighting the issue to a finish and have brushed aside all junior doctors’ assurances that if an emergency occurs during the 26-27th strike they will tackle it.
Instead, they are preparing a major witch-hunt! The junior doctors are not fighting for themselves. They are carrying out everybody’s fight to defend the NHS and keep it safe. Their struggle is the struggle of every trade unionist, and every worker and young person. It is a matter of life or death for millions of people. This is why they must not fight alone!
Councils of Action must be formed in every area to rally all workers and youth to support the struggle by joining the strike action and joining the picket lines. In the event of junior doctors being victimised during and after the strike action on the 26th and the 27th, trade unionists must stop work and answer the Tories by bringing industry and the buses and trains to a halt. Workers know that life will be hell without the NHS.
At the current time, some of the TUC trade unions are giving a limited verbal support while the TUC General Council is looking the other way and seeking to make deals with Cameron. The TUC must be called to order. The TUC’s seven million members need the NHS and would, if asked, take action to defend it.
This is why the junior doctors and all their many supporters must lobby the next meeting of the General Council of the TUC when it meets on April 27th at Congress House in London, to insist that the junior doctors must not fight alone and that the TUC leaders will not be allowed to just stand idly by and allow the junior doctors to be witch-hunted and the NHS privatised.
A mass movement of junior doctors and their supporters must lobby the General Council of the TUC and insist that it meet a delegation of junior doctors to discuss action to defend the NHS and stop it being privatised, and the working class returned to the pre-NHS dark ages. The minimum that the TUC must do is to call a national demonstration of all workers in support of the junior doctors and the NHS.
It must also pledge that, in the event of action being taken against junior doctors by the government or NHS England, they will do what they did when Heath jailed the five dockers in 1972, call a 24-hour general strike, that gained their release when the Heath government crumbled and gave way.
They must also acknowledge that the junior doctors’ struggle must be won, and if the government will not lift the imposed contract, the TUC Congress must be recalled to discuss calling an indefinite general strike to defend the NHS and bring down the government to bring in a workers’ government.
Workers in the UK value the NHS above all. They understand that without it they will be sunk, as will be their children. Now the TUC must be made to show its solidarity with the the junior doctors, by taking solidarity action to scupper any attempt to witch-hunt them.
We are now approaching a crucial moment in the junior doctors’ struggle to defend the NHS. We urge workers to flock to their picket lines on 26-27 April, and to take local strike actions in the event of any victimisation. We also urge workers and youth to lobby the TUC in their thousands. The General Council must be made to understand that they have no alternative but to support the junior doctors or resign to make way for those who are willing to lead the battle to smash the imposed contract and to save the NHS!