NHS: Keeping Up the Pressure

Today’s 24 hour strike by healthcare workers from UNISION and NIPSA was avoidable: as have all the days of industrial action by workers across the public and private sectors over the past eighteen months.

Had Secretary of State Chris Heaton-Harris agreed to meet with trade union representatIves last week there would have been no strike today: but he didn’t and there was.

After today’s demonstrations, including a protest outside the Mr Heaton-Harris’s Erskine House office in Belfast city centre, comes news that he will meet with UNISON and NIPSA next week and that the industrial action planned for Monday has been put on hold. Keeping up the pressure pays dividends, eventually.

A constant struggle

The foundation of the NHS in 1948, and the securing of the principle that health care would be free at the point of use, and available to every citizen from the cradle to the grave, was amongst the most significant social developments of the 20th century in Britain and Northern Ireland. These changes were not given freely, they were won by the struggles of the organised working class.

Seven decades later neither that principle nor the institution itself are safe from private enterprise and greed, aided and abetted by free market parties at Stormont and Westminster.

That is why the pressure to defend and safeguard the NHS and its founding principles must be maintained. The Workers Party is committed to doing just that .

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