Today’s one-day action by members of NIPSA and the Royal College of Midwives piled the pressure on the state by joining the 48-hour strike by thousands of Unison Healthcare members and Unite’s 4000 healthcare members to create one of the largest days of coordinated strike action in the Cost of Living Crisis.
‘Workers have been treated like dirt for too long.’ said Gerry Carroll after visiting strikers on the Shankill on his way to the Royal Victoria before joining the combined rally at City Hall. ‘We need to keep the momentum up and continue the strike action up until the Tories crumble and proper pay rises are offered. Solidarity with everyone on strike today and this week.’
Workers were out across the north. People Before Profit joined them in Craigavon.
Caitlin in the Society of Radiographers union said ‘Why would young people enter this profession? They’re know they’re going to be overworked and have to stand on pickets for years for a fair wage. A lot of colleagues are looking to the private sector and we can’t blame them in this Cost of Living Crisis.’
NIPSA member at Daisy Hill Hospital in Newry, Deirdre Ferris, said ‘Our Secretary of State needs to know we’re not going to go away. Rain or shine we’ll be here like you see us today. We’re out here shoulder to shoulder,’ flanked by a young Unite member Kyle Wilson and Unison member Sonia Ferris.
‘We’ve got the radiographers out here, emergency crews, midwives…’ Each striker very clearly communicated the half a dozen issues in detail and with examples of how the government is deliberately running down services as they see numbers of new recruits into the NHS drop and more and more services being done by private contractors. The agreed sentiment is seemed very clearly to be summed up by one quote: ‘The Tories want the hospitals to fail so we all end up in private health clinics.’
The fight against low wages and for safe staffing is the same fight for retention and recruitment. Tories active underfunding and the equally active non-engagement at Stormont are recklessly pushing the NHS staff to the edge. Thousands of stories of poor treatment were told on hundreds of pickets and not just in in healthcare and the civil service.
Derry saw DFI Roads Workers out today again on another week of strike action. Shaun Harkin commended the united coordinated strike and pointed out the clear call for longer strikes that our leaflets echoed:
‘We need a united voice, we need to unite the strikes and move towards sustained and escalating action to smash pay disparity and end Tory/Stormont Cuts.
‘Action is the only thing that will deliver change, not promises from establishment parties with horrendous track records on workers rights.
‘Workers at the coalface need to demand a shift change from the trade union leadership to step up the fight.’
Higher Education Colleges workers have been filling picket lines since Monday and university staff will be out in most location next week.
Today was tremendous day of solidarity for the working class and the trade union movement in their battle to wake up the bosses to the power of the united workers.
We are beyond the one-day action. Longer strikes are the only way to push back against an assembly that refuses to do the job and a UK government that only puts the pressure on workers.
The time to say enough passed months ago. The cost of living crisis is breaking families, robbing futures and stockpiling a bitterness that only fuels bigger crises down the road.
Workers are the best leaders in these times. Workers are right to demand through their unions that government take action or take a walk. Support the strikes and grow the strikes.