The umbrella body of the Trade Union Movement, the NI Committee of the ICTU, expresses its support for NHS doctors taking strike action tomorrow (Thurs 21st June 2012).
Speaking at meeting of trade union activists, its ICTU President Eugene McGlone said:
“The NI Committee of the ICTU supports the Doctors in our National Health Service who are taking action to defend their pensions from a government which is unwilling to negotiate or compromise.
“All trade unionists should support this strike, as the issue is not the present salaries or pensions of Doctors, but the principle of resistance to the unnecessary and ideologically-driven austerity programme of the Westminster government. The hospital porters and cleaners and technicians who went out on strike last November were observing the same principle. The real issue is the bad faith of the Tories and their determination to make public servants pay for the incompetence and greed of the private sector elites who caused the economic crisis.
“There has been a co-ordinated attempt to make the doctors appear greedy, with some right-wing commentators arguing that they should be on strike over the cuts agenda and how it is affecting the NHS. The point is that the doctors cannot go on a political strike, as those disputes were expressly banned by the Thatcher government. Nonetheless, it is absurd to separate the strike tomorrow from the general mood of anger felt by all workers in the NHS.
“This strike has been hugely backed by a large turnout of doctors, and it is their first industrial action in three decades. We have recently seen dramatic displays of discontent from police officers, prison guards and senior civil servants – groups of public servants not known for being militant.
“The lesson from the doctors’ strike to the government is that their cynical attempt to divide and conquer workers from all sectors and all professions is failing.”
NIPSA is organising activity on this Thursday at lunch time to coincide with the industrial action being taken by doctors. On account of the fact that doctors will be required to remain at their place of work to cover urgent and emergency cases, the BMA itself will not be organising any public protests.
NIC-ICTU is asking as many activists and members as possible to meet at Cornmarket, Belfast City Centre at 12.45 pm to leaflet the public and show a public demonstration of support for the doctors and all public servants struggling against the attack on public services and public service pensions.
Communications Officer, NIC-ICTU
Tel: 07808 582546