Nurses and NHS workers will protest for pay on 8 August. They should be rewarded with money as well as clapping…

This Saturday (8 August), NHS staff will hold protests for pay – as well they might. They were excluded from Rishi Sunak’s recent public sector pay rise deal.

I sat in on a call with NHS workers and protest organisers last Saturday. There’s a lot of anger around, which is hardly surprising. Hundreds of health workers have died from coronavirus this year – a toll we may well not have seen had Boris Johnson got around to lockdowns and making sure people had adequate PPE.

This weekend’s (socially-distanced) protests are largely being generated and organised by staff themselves. According to staff on last Saturday’s call, one reason for that is that unions have been too slow to move on the issue. People decided to take things into their own hands. How often have we heard that?

Anyway. Can’t wait to see Boris Johnson out clapping for protesting NHS workers on the 8th. Here’s a list of protest events.

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Download a pdf copy of my book

My 2020 book “Abusing Power” is a collection of interviews with people who needed benefits and housing help in austerity.

You can access a pdf of the book here.

The book goes behind the scenes to jobcentre & homelessness meetings and shows how people’s experiences of the austerity state shaped their politics and thinking.

Thanks to Aditya Chakrabortty for the shoutout on the book in today’s Guardian.

9 thoughts on “Nurses and NHS workers will protest for pay on 8 August. They should be rewarded with money as well as clapping…

  1. I find myself going from rage to rage whenever this despicable government is mentioned, especially when it comes to the NHS, Nurses, and Health Workers, and how they’ve all been so desperately underpaid since both Blair’s New Labour, and then when the Tories once again took power!

    Everyone in this country has had the help – probably many times – of those wonderfully dedicated people in their lifetimes, but so many seem to turn a blind eye when pay is mentioned!

    It’s so terrible that health workers and nurses are having to organise their own strike, too! What’s wrong with our Unions nowadays, that they haven’t been protesting this terrible imbalance from the rooftops?

    This should have been everyone’s first priority but, instead, they meekly follow government, and stand there clapping, instead of shouting from the rooftops that our NHS, and all who work in it, should only have the best that we can provide!

    • I agree with you. In an important way it’s good to see that the nurses themselves are organising their own industrial action in the face of the incompetence of their own union’s bureaucracy which is often as likely to do a deal behind worker’s backs with management as they are to truly represent worker’s genuine interests.

      Though being in any union is better than being in none, I think the slow rise of alternative ‘industrial’ type unions is partly a response to the utter uselessness of many mainstream unions who do little. There are a few, the better known, the IWW (Industrial Workers of the World) is an international union founded in 1905 and based in Chicago, USA is a union run entirely by the membership in a strictly democratic manner, each branch is effectively a mini-union with its own autonomy to act as it sees fit so long as it remains within the constitution of the union.

      The cleaners in London, often immigrant workers, many from Latin America have formed their own union, United Voices of the World, and have had several victories in their campaigns. There is also the IWGB – Independent Workers Union of Great Britain, which is another union following the structure of an industrial union.

      In another arena, that of rented housing is Acorn, another idea imported from the USA, but which has an entirely independent existence in the UK. It acts as a union of renters, campaigning to improve housing rights and fighting evictions, and has had some very successful actions.

    • That’s a start isn’t it. We definitely need a new Benefits system as the current one is unfit for purpose. It never was fit for purpose even before Covid, just a completely vicious attempt at hurting, punishing and enslaving or killing the poor, courtesy of Iain Duncan Smith, Lord Freud, David Cameron and George Osborne, all of whom belong behind bars along with several others, Esther McVey et al. The dysfunctional brutal system they devised and have perpetuated can not possibly remain in place now with unemployment set to rise to record levels and with no jobs. Change must come.

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