Members of Brighton and Hove Unison supported two acts of resistance to the government on Wednesday – marching with Junior Doctors in the morning and meeting with school staff and others to oppose Academy Schools in the evening.
The Junior Doctors Strike is clearly about defending the NHS from the government’s creeping privatisation as well as Doctor’s pay. We were proud to march with them to the County Hospital as their strike started. With 150 strikers and supporters outside the town hall at 8am, it must have been the biggest 8am protest for years.
Stephen McLean, chair of Unison Sussex Partnership NHS branch and also representing Sussex Defend NHS echoed the importance of solidarity between all trade unionists. “The Junior Doctor’s dispute is the cutting edge of the fight to defend the NHS. We will stand together and not allow Cameron to pick us off one by one the way Thatcher did in the 1980’s.” He added “we all depend on the NHS and it’s up to every trade unionist to defend it. We will not allow universal, free healthcare to become a cherished but distant memory in the manner we now look back on our industrial base.
Brighton and Hove Unison will continue to stand by all those defending the NHS, and encourages all members to do what they can to support the Junior Doctors.
In the evening, B&HCC Unison was represented at the launch of a local campaign to stop the governments plan to turn every school into an academy. Alongside the NUT, Unison sees this as the beginnings of privatisation. What was supposed to be a small planning meeting ended up with 85 people discussing how to defend the accountability of schools to their elected local authority rather than being run by chains of businesses. Unison members pointed out that the support staff would be the first to have their terms and conditions attacked as academies can tear up all national agreements.
The big turnouts, along with the determination of campaigners and a government caught up with its tax dodging scandals and internal divisions meant that by the end of the day we were a bit more optimistic about stopping this government in its tracks.