As the government flip-flops and flounders over the pay cap, nurses get their own back
During the election campaign, when questioned by a nurse on their pay, and after increasing pressure on the public sector pay cap, Theresa May declared that ‘there is not a magic money tree’. On July 5th, the NHS’ birthday, nurses have delivered their response to the Department of Health - a ‘found magic money tree’.
The nurses seem to have found the tree somewhere in Northern Ireland, propping up the Conservative government with a DUP branch worth 1.5 billion pounds. They are asking that some of the new found money goes towards funding the NHS and paying their workers properly, with record rates leaving their jobs, and a huge crisis continuing.
Both the Conservatives and the DUP voted against public sector workers getting a pay rise in Parliament on the 28th of June, despite 7 years of pay restraint, where nurses have lost approximately 14% in real terms pay.
Lack of funding means that critical services are being affected, and the pay cap means that teachers and other public sector workers are leaving in record numbers, compounding the problem. Speak to any health worker and they will tell you that both they and the service are at breaking point.
The government is under serious pressure and so has gone back and forth on whether they are going to raise the cap. But the only way to make sure public service workers get paid properly, and the private sector as well, is if this government is kicked out. Today’s action was a statement of intent.
The Tories are weak, and their time is nearly up. Jeremy Corbyn is right to say that Labour are a government in waiting, but it is the movement on the ground that will put them there. Well done to the nurses. Now, after a huge national demonstration against the government, it’s down to us all to keep the pressure on.
Cameron Panting is National Organiser for Counterfire and is a member of the editorial board. He is active within the People's Assembly and is a member of Stop The War.
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