Trade Unions Must Take Action Alongside The Junior Doctors!

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TODAY’S strike by junior doctors has the support of 100% of workers across the country.

They are not fooled by all the Tory propaganda that the strike is putting patients’ lives at risk or the grotesque attempt by the Department of Health and Jeremy Hunt to portray junior doctors as being on the same level as terrorists.

The working class knows that the Tories themselves have forced the strike by attempting to impose a dictatorship on junior doctors in the form of a new contract of employment that would cut their take home pay and increase their normal working hours to unsafe levels.

Imposing this contract by diktat is a matter for the entire working class. If successful against the doctors, the Tories intend to impose similar contracts, that cannot be refused, throughout the NHS and the whole of the public sector, as part of their savage cost-cutting offensive against the health service and the Welfare State – attacks that the Tories intend to lead to the complete privatisation of the NHS, and the whole of the public sector.

The Tories have tried to smear the doctors by saying that they are akin to terrorists, risking the lives of people with their strike action. This is absolute nonsense. Doctors save lives. They have been driven to take strike action by the Tory attempts to smash the NHS.

The Tories are plotting and planning to smash up the lives of millions of workers with their plans to cut spending back to levels last seen in the 1930s. This is real terrorism – destroying people’s lives! It is not doctors or nurses who have slashed funding and closed A&E departments up and down the country, putting patients’ lives at risk.

It is not the medical profession that has introduced a terror regime of medical assessments, carried out by the profit-driven private companies like ATOS, that has driven the sick and disabled off benefits and led to untold numbers of deaths and suicides. The crisis has been created solely by a Tory government determined to smash the welfare state and use the billions ‘saved’ in paying off the trillions of pounds spent bailing out the banks from bankruptcy.

The junior doctors have taken a stand against the Tory offensive – they are fighting not just for themselves but for the entire working class in defending the NHS. They must not be allowed to carry out this fight alone. The support they have from the millions of workers and trade union members must be turned into action.

This means that the TUC leadership must be forced to end its shameful inactivity over defence of the NHS and mobilise the full strength of the working class to end the Tory terror attacks by calling a general strike in support of the junior doctors.

So far, the TUC and major health unions like Unite, GMB and Unison have done absolutely nothing to fight the closure of a single ward, let alone the Tory drive to destroy the whole NHS. In fact these leaders are refusing to fight even for the existence of unions themselves. Yesterday, the anti-trade union legislation, that will make striking illegal and bring the full force of criminal law into industrial disputes, reached its final stages in the House of Lords.

Not a single protest march or rally was called by the TUC to even protest on this day. These leaders are sitting back hoping against hope that at the end of the day the Tories will let them carry on drawing their salaries and enjoying the perks of leadership in return for not ‘rocking the boat’ and leading any real fight.

This treachery by the trade union bureaucracy must be ended immediately and these leaders told bluntly that either they fight or be kicked out of office and replaced by a new leadership that will. The News Line demands that the trade unions join the doctors strike actions and that the TUC organise to call its entire membership out on a one-day general strike on the final day of the junior doctors’ strike, called for 10th February.

On that day, every worker and every union must come out, and the TUC must organise a gigantic march on Parliament to demand that the Tories resign at once. A failure to resign must be met by a full general strike to bring the Tories down and bring in a workers government. This is the way forward!