TUC must call a general strike in support of junior doctors and the NHS

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TODAY Emergency Motion E5 is to be heard and voted on at the TUC Congress in Brighton.

Despite being called ‘Support for the BMA and the Junior Doctors’ and being moved by Unison and seconded by the RCM, it does not mention one concrete action that the trade union movement must undertake to show their support and to assist the junior doctors to win their struggle, and to win our common struggle to stop the Tories smashing the NHS.

It is so empty of any real action to support the junior doctors it can only be intended to assure the Tories that the TUC is going to continue to stand by and watch Health Secretary Hunt do his worst to smash the junior doctors and the NHS. The TUC General Council does not intend to lift even a little finger to defend them.

The resolution states that: ‘Congress notes with concern the Prime Minister’s confirmation of the government’s renewed plans to impose a contract on junior doctors in the NHS, following the rejection of the latest proposals in a ballot of BMA members and the BMA’s decision to take further industrial action. The BMA’s decision to take further industrial action is a direct response to the looming threat of imposition.’

Is the TUC about to rush in to assist the junior doctors and the NHS – are they hell!

The resolution continues: ‘Congress believes that a resolution to the dispute must be based on a negotiated settlement that promotes the health and well being of medical staff, high quality services that guarantee patient safety and provides the resources required to deliver fully operational service across seven days.’

The cowardly TUC leaders have not heard the repeated statements by Hunt that he is imposing a settlement and not negotiating anything! The resolution continues: ‘Congress notes the work of NHS trade unions in staving off attacks on unsocial hours’ payments for non-medical staff. However, this threat will not be removed without a commitment that the roll out of seven day services will be accompanied by proper funding.’

The truth is that if the junior doctors are defeated, all other health workers will face contract imposition and an end to unsocial hours payments! The resolution goes on: ‘Congress therefore calls on the TUC to: i. Continue to provide solidarity and support to the BMA and its members. ii. Call on the government to lift the imposition of the contract and work with the BMA to resolve the dispute. iii. Continue to support and promote the use of national terms and conditions within the NHS. iv. Make the case for a properly funded NHS.

Fact i) The TUC has not been providing any solidarity and support to the BMA and the junior doctors, and has refused to give a statement to this newspaper supporting the junior doctors’ five day strikes. The TUC is asking Congress for more of the same – that is nothing!

Fact ii) Its calls on the government to work with the BMA, when it is trying to cut the throats of the junior doctors and the NHS, are nonsensical and should be treated as such. Facts iii and iv) There will be no national terms and conditions of service in the NHS and no properly funded NHS if the junior doctors are defeated, and the mass hospital closures and privatisations get under way!

Delegates must amend this resolution root and branch so that Congress votes on a resolution to take action – not to keep the Tories happy! The four clauses must be dumped and replaced with an instruction to the General Council to take general strike action to defend the junior doctors and the NHS.

The junior doctors are to strike for five days from October 5th. The emergency resolution must state that, in the light of the terrible threat that the junior doctors and the NHS face, the TUC will call a general strike from October 5th, in support of the junior doctors and the NHS, to bring down the government and bring in a workers government and socialism.

The would-be friends of the Tories that lead the General Council must be called to order. The TUC must call a general strike to defend the junior doctors and the NHS now!