With the NHS ‘close to collapse’ and wages being slashed by inflation make the TUC call a general strike to boot the Tories out!

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WITHOUT enough staff, the NHS is increasingly close to collapse,’ the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) warned yesterday. RCN General Secretary and Chief Executive, Pat Cullen, said: ‘Ambulances piling up, waiting lists through the roof and nursing staff on their knees is the nightmare reality in our NHS. Patients are suffering and the NHS is increasingly close to collapse.’

The RCN leader added: ‘But after a decade of real-terms pay cuts, nursing staff are leaving the workforce in their droves. Many simply can’t afford to be a nurse any longer.’ She concluded: ‘In under two weeks we will be balloting our members on industrial action. Public support for nurses striking has risen while three-quarters say there aren’t enough NHS nursing staff for safe care.’

She added: ‘Nursing is now having to consider strike action to get ministers’ attention and we will be balloting our members next week. I am telling them that the time has come to vote for strike action this year.’

Meanwhile, the NASUWT teachers’ union is to reject the 5% pay offer for teachers in Scotland tabled by local government employers COSLA.

This decision follows the results of a snapshot survey of NASUWT members in which 83% of respondents said they believe the pay award should be rejected as inadequate or unacceptable.

Dr Patrick Roach, NASUWT General Secretary, said: ‘NASUWT members have been clear in demanding that we reject the imposition of a below-inflation pay award. This pay offer is yet another pay cut for teachers which will cause even greater damage to the morale of the profession.’ He continued: ‘Employers must come back to the table with a vastly improved offer. If they fail to do so we remain committed to balloting members this term for industrial action.’

Also yesterday, the Unite leader Sharon Graham tentatively joined the fray when she declared that: ‘Workers are simply no longer prepared to accept poverty wages, especially when they know employer after employer is guilty of rampant profiteering.

‘Since I was elected, 76,000 Unite members have taken industrial action in pay disputes. That’s put £150 million more in their pay packets.’

Graham said: ‘Calls for wage restraint by companies who are fuelling soaring prices are contemptible. It’s time to stop telling workers to pay the price for inflation and instead do something to tackle excessive profiteering.

‘Unite makes no apologies for backing workers fighting for a better deal. If employers can pay, they should pay. If they won’t pay, eventually they will pay when Unite organises the fightback.’ The issue is when will this be?

Meanwhile, the university unions are seething with anger after Universities UK appealed to the government to support the students during the cost of living crisis.

The Universities College Union Secretary, Jo Grady, angrily said yesterday: ‘It is not enough for vice chancellors to merely call on the government for more funding whilst pretending to be powerless.

‘Universities are raking in record income, but that money is not being spent on supporting staff and students, where it is desperately needed. Instead it is being used to boost already over-inflated vice-chancellor salaries and being wasted on vanity projects.

‘Universities need to properly address how their staff and students will survive the worst cost of living crisis in a generation. If they refuse to do so willingly, staff will take unprecedented strike action and force them to act.’

Strike ballots at 150 UK universities open tomorrow.

As the workers’ and students’ movements get ready for action to defend their jobs and living standards, Foreign Secretary Truss, the next PM after the demise of Johnson, is already committed to slashing the NHS budget and transferring part of it into ‘Social Care’.

She is also already committed to spending hundreds of billions on building up the British army so that it can confront Russia. She is not content that half of the world, including workers in the UK, are starving. She says it is a price worth paying if it allows the US-UK bosses axis to confront Russia.

She is already committed to bringing in new anti-union laws that will legalise strike breaking and union busting!

The trade union leaders have been taught by the strike wave just how determined workers are to defend their living standards. Now the trade union leaders must be made to call a general strike to bring down Truss and the Tories and bring in a workers’ government that will nationalise the banks and the major industries and bring in socialism.

The Trade Union Congress is meeting on Monday September 12th in Brighton. The All Trades Unions Alliance has called for a mass lobby of the Congress to demand that the TUC immediately call a general strike to bring down the Tories and bring in a workers’ government and socialism. Make sure that you are at this vital lobby.