‘VICTORY to the junior doctors – kick the Tories out! TUC get off your knees – call a general strike! No privatisation – defend the NHS!’ shouted youth and workers at yesterday’s Young Socialists-led lobby of the TUC.
The 100-strong lobby was demanding yesterday’s meeting of the TUC General Council at Congress House call strike action to support the junior doctors. BMA member Patrick Earls from King’s College Hospital lobbied General Council members to be allowed in to their meeting and called for a National Day of Action as has been proposed by the PCS and FBU.
Earls told News Line: ‘It’s paramount the unions fulfil their purpose and publicly declare support for the junior doctors strike and the NHS struggle to survive. The clock is ticking to the time of imposition and we’re fully dependent on workers’ support. The public are being lied to by the government and the media.
‘Grassroots support is there but we need action by the unions to counter the government spin. The teachers showed their support last night. We want the TUC to call a National Day of Action to preserve the welfare state.’
Unite TUC General Council member Tony Woodhouse stopped and talked to Patrick, saying: ‘I support the doctors 100%. I would be out tomorrow.’ Asked if he would take Patrick in to the meeting, Woodhouse said: ‘I’m not big enough to do that.’
Linda Rolf of banking union Advance said: ‘I think you’ve got most people’s backing.’
Pressed, she added: ‘If I can raise a day of action, I will.’ EIS TUC General Council member Larry Flanaghan said: ‘I’m happy to move to get this junior doctor to address the meeting. I agree with a national day of action to support junior doctors. You’ll get our support.’
Maria Exell of the CWU said: ‘CWU members joined the picket line at Bournemouth General Hospital. Our general secretary was there. The Tories are picking on you. They are trying to force a fight to destroy the NHS. I support a day of action. It probably will come up today. I’ll fight for solidarity from the rest of the union movement for the junior doctors.’
Stephen Spence from Equity told Patrick: ‘I fully support you.’ NUT member Del Rew who was arriving for a separate meeting, said: ‘My son is a physio at St Thomas’ and Guy’s. There should be action by other unions to support the junior doctors. I’d support a National Day of Action.’
Film director Mike Leigh was passing and stopped at the lobby. He told News Line: ‘Of course the unions should support the doctors. Of course they should take action with them. I support the call for a general strike to support the doctors.’
Earls however was not allowed into the meeting and it appears that no decision was taken on a Day of Action. Every trade union branch in the country should immediately get in touch with the TUC and demand an immediate recall of the TUC Congress to decide on a general strike to support the junior doctors and defend the NHS.