Socialist Appeal supporters and members of the Sheffield University Marxist Society showed their support to the striking NHS staff at the Northern General Hospital in Sheffield on Monday morning. Despite the pouring rain, the mood was upbeat and support from passers-by was constant throughout the morning.
Socialist Appeal supporters and members of the Sheffield University Marxist Society showed their support to the striking NHS staff at the Northern General Hospital in Sheffield on Monday morning.
Clinical, ancillary and administrative staff from the hospital and community services were present on the picket line and united in their fight for a pay rise in line with the recommendation of the NHS Pay Review Body.
Listening to those taking part in the action it was clear that pay was not the only issue of concern. Nurses spoke of their frustration when they are trying to provide personalised care amid pressure to complete tasks in the minimum amount of time. Support for updating or advancing their knowledge and skills is woefully inadequate, yet at the same time the profession is regularly portrayed as uncaring in the media, despite the fact that most nurses regularly work unpaid overtime rather than leave patients in need.
The strike lasted from 7am to 11am and, despite the pouring rain, the mood was upbeat and toots and waves of support from passing traffic were constant throughout the morning.
At 10am morale was boosted by speakers including Socialist Appeal’s regular columnist John Dunn. John had previously spoken at the Unison branch meeting on behalf of the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign and the branch invited him back to speak at their strike rally.
John referred to solidarity strikes by the NUM over 30 years ago in support of nurses and other NHS workers and called for a 24 hour general strike to start the mobilisation of the working class, adding that to be successful the fight for the NHS needs to be part of the bigger fight for a better system, for socialism. His speech was well received and a section of it was broadcast on Calendar, the local ITV news show, on Monday evening.
Informed by their branch secretary that the hospital management intended to penalise any striker returning to work “even if you are only one minute late” the strikers left the rally in optimistic and defiant mood.
The rain might have bucketed down all morning but it certainly had not dampened their spirits!