“THE CON-DEM government has lost all respect and credibility.”
That’s the view of Pat Harrington – the General Secretary of Solidarity Trade Union – upon hearing that doctors were going to strike for the first time in 40 years.
“When a group as ‘conservative’ as doctors go on strike it’s time for the government to step back from the brink and at least reassess their options” he said. “Given the economic conditions of today, no-one goes on strike for fun. Not only does it involve a loss of a day’s pay – but the group going on strike becomes ‘fair game’ for Cameron and Clegg’s spin doctors. These doctors will be unjustly vilified and all Trade Unionists must argue in their support.”
Pat Harrington rejected the idea that Doctors should not take industrial action: "We must tell people that their action is just because the reactionary press will not. Working longer (to 68) with higher contributions for a smaller pension is unfair and Doctors are right to oppose it."
"A strike by Doctors is not unprecedented. To give an example in 1975 junior doctors took action against the following problems: rotas that enforced working 120 hours one week and 80 the next while being paid for a 40-hour week; appalling conditions in their on-call rooms; and having to provide care for "their" consultants' private patients, which took them away from NHS commitments. Doctors are workers and should have the right to protect there interests just like any other worker."
The strike – scheduled for June 21 – demonstrates the anger and frustration felt by medics.
They are protesting against the government’s plan to raise the NHS doctors’ retirement age from 65 to 68 in England and Wales by 2015 and increase the contributions they make to their pensions.