Union leaders must call action now over NHS pay or resign!


THERE is not the slightest doubt that the Labour government has declared all-out war on all NHS staff with its decision to impose a massive pay cut by awarding a 1.5 per cent ‘wage rise’.

Inflation is running at 3.6 per cent according to the government’s own discredited cost of living index.

Everybody knows that the massive increases in gas and electricity prices, in council taxes, rail and bus fares, petrol prices, along with the hike in tuition fees mean that the real cost of living has gone up several times 3.6 per cent.

What Labour is proposing to do is to crash the living standards of all NHS workers.

Blair and Brown have gained the confidence to slap millions of workers in the face in this way, solely because of the way that the trade union leaders have betrayed the struggle to defend final salary pensions, and then betrayed the struggle to stop the privatisation of NHS logistics.

At NHS Logistics, with the Labour government defeated at its own Labour Party conference on the issue and with the whole of the country supporting the trade unions, the union leaders refused to fight.

They allowed NHS Logistics to be privatised just a few days after the Labour Party conference vote. The UNISON and TUC leaders preferred to betray their own members rather than take action that they thought would bring the Blair government down.

The government was allowed to get away with the first open privatisation in the NHS because the union leaders are more loyal to Blair and Brown than they are to defending their members’ interests.

This is why Brown and Blair are now stepping forward to savagely cut the wages of all NHS staff. They are banking on the trade union leaders letting them get away with it!

The betrayal over final salary pensions was a very costly tragedy for the whole of the working class.

The refusal to stop the privatisation of NHS Logistics was a farce. The government must not be allowed to get away with savage wage cutting in the NHS. If they do, then the NHS privatisation programme will be speeded up and there will be many more NHS Logistics.

There must be emergency meetings of all NHS trade union branches of both the TUC trade unions and the BMA and the RCN and the other non-TUC trade unions.

These must spell out to the regional and national union leaders that they must call indefinite strike action now or resign and make way for leaders who are prepared to fight and defeat Blair and Brown.

The Blair-Brown government must be brought down and replaced with a workers government that will carry out socialist policies, starting with defending workers’ living standards and halting NHS privatisation, renationalising NHS Logistics.

This is what must be done – otherwise we will see Blair and Brown handing government back to the Tories.

In fact, the union leaders with their continual refusal to fight are helping Blair and Brown create the conditions for the return of the Tories.

This time there must be a battle, and the government must be defeated.

Leaders who will not do battle must be sacked and replaced by leaders who will.

Central to this struggle is the building of a new and revolutionary leadership in the trade unions to replace the current reformist leaders who can see no further than Blair and Brown and capitalism.

The trade union leaders are hopeless careerists who support capitalism and have even given up talking about socialism.

They are desperate to foist Chancellor Brown onto the working class despite the fact that he will try to do to the working class as a whole what he has done to the civil servants, sack tens of thousands of them.

Only the WRP is building the new, revolutionary leadership inside the trade unions in the struggle to mobilise the working class to stop wage cutting and privatisation and go forward to socialism.

Workers who are serious about defending wages and jobs should join the WRP at once.