OCCUPY to stop NHS closures – demand unions call a general strike!


THE West London Council of Action spoke out and acted for many workers yesterday when it launched the occupation of the Maternity Unit at Ealing Hospital to stop it being closed.

Its statement read: ‘This is no protest action. We know that if they close the maternity in Ealing the whole hospital will be next. What is happening throughout west London and throughout the country is the destruction of the National Health Service, the great gain of the working people without which we will be thrown back to the dark ages.

‘We are here to defend the National Health Service and to start driving the Tories back and out of power.’

It added: ‘The working class has built great trade unions, and it is these trade unions that should be leading this occupation and the defence of the NHS and the Welfare State.

‘However, the trade union leaders, to their eternal disgrace, are just standing by and watching the Tories impose a death sentence on tens of thousands of workers with their hospital closure programme.

‘We demand that the trade unions take action to occupy hospitals to keep them open and to mobilise workers to defend their basic rights.’

It announced that there will be another Council of Action demonstration on July 1st, the day that the Tories intend to close down the Ealing Maternity Unit for good.

It stated: ‘We are occupying today, the day in which the management has announced the end of live births in Ealing and a week from now, on July 1st, the total closure of the Maternity Unit with the rest to follow.

‘On July 1st, we will be organising another march to this occupied Maternity Unit and we urge the trade unions locally to join this march and to stop work on the day so that it is a march of thousands.

‘Bus workers, rail workers, airport workers, shop workers – it is your families and your wives and children whose lives are threatened by this closure.

‘Demand that mass union meetings be called to march to the occupied Maternity Unity on July 1st to stop the closure.’

It concluded that: ‘It is a matter of life and death. The trade unions have the power to do it and their members must see that they are forced into action to defend the NHS and the welfare state.’

It remains a disgrace that the trade union leaders have not organised a single meeting at Ealing Hospital of their members to fight the Maternity Department closure and to keep it and the hospital fully functioning.

Their refusal to fight gives the go-ahead to the Tories to do their worst – which they are doing.

The working class must now take decisive action to secure its future and serve a notice to quit on a trade union bureaucracy that is refusing to fight, and replace it with a new and revolutionary leadership.

The trade unions must be made to take the lead in forming Councils of Action in every locality.

On these Councils of Action will be representatives of every section of the community, side by side with leading trade unionists, to organise mass actions to defend every job, every hospital and every gain of the working class.

These mass actions to defeat the cuts and closures will prepare the way for a revolutionary general strike to drive the Tories out of office, expropriate the bosses and the bankers and bring in a workers government.

The truth is that the massive austerity drive of the Tories comes directly out of the need of the ruling class to solve the huge crisis of the capitalist system by turning the working class and the youth into beggars and paupers.

This same crisis leaves the working class with only one alternative.

This is to organise and build the revolutionary party to put an end to the dog-eat-dog capitalist system and replace it with socialism and a planned economy organised to satisfy the needs of the people.