“No Raise – No Rays!” Southampton Radiographers Strike

For the second Monday in two weeks, striking healthworkers received huge public support for their pickets outside the Southampton General Hospital. From radiographers to midwives, porters to nurses, the message is unanimous, “enough is enough!”

Southampton needs a pay rise! Southampton needs an NHS! 
Public Meeting Thursday 23 Oct, 7.30pm Avenue Campus, SO17 1BF 
How can we get it? How can we pay for it? All welcome

With no pay raise for four years, radiographers explained why they were on strike, “There is a huge retention and recruitment crisis in this service. those of us left are facing growing demands. 90% of people coming into a hospital will come through our service. Many are retiring and there is not enough recruitment.” Others put it more bluntly, “I’ve done 75 hours a week for the last two weeks!” 
So low paid, many healthworkers are taking extra hours as agency staff in an understaffed NHS. This is at massive cost to the NHS, but significant profit to the agencies. As they say, ‘follow the money’ if you want to know what’s going on.
When asked what the solution was, the immediate response was, “Stop privatisation. The sister service in Southampton as the Royal South Hants has been handed to (s)Care UK. This means chaos, as x-rays are coded differently, go missing and patients arriving for treatment at the SGH have to be re-x-rayed, which is in breach of legal requirement that insist patients receive the minimum radiation.” Many pickets were young and angry, “Three years training and massive student debts, we are starting on £21 000, can’t afford a home and do a job that if we get it wrong could kill someone! We are not paid enough!”
This was a familiar tale from many healthworkers, paid less and expected to do more. “Nurses are doing 12 hour shifts, two in a ward of thirty patients. If staff on the next shift are sick, it can take hours for cover to come in.” Midwives explained how the job has changed, “I’m close to retiring. When I started we did home visits and allocated an hour and a half to meet the mums and get to know the family and their needs. Now local maternity units have gone, forcing mums to travel to centralised clinics where they get a fifteen minute appointment.”
There was no end to the car horns and ambulance solidarity sirens giving their support today. All the Westminster politicians say they back the NHS but when it comes to it the NHS is those who are out on strike today and those politicians are nowhere to be seen. Significantly local rebel councillors from the area, Keith Morrell and Don Thomas, came to give their solidarity!

In Southampton it is clear that healthworkers have had enough and know a fight is on to save the NHS!

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Read this week's #NSSN bulletin no.566: Workers start 2022 on the picket line!

https://shopstewards.net/2022/01/nssn-566-workers-start-2022-on-the-picket-line/

To all #TUSC supporters Best Wishes for 2022 - let’s see if together we can find hundreds of trades unionists, community campaigners and socialists to challenge austerity at the May local elections in the biggest and widest possible socialist unity.
#Solidarity

2022 and Council Cuts continue
Defend public services
Defend Jobs and Pay
Stop Cuts and Privatisation
Join the fightback in #southampton to @SaveStMarysLC #SocialistSunday #StopCouncilCuts

@VenueHorse @Callowlands Park, Watford @watfordpalace with #theDanTiendance school. Really enjoyed it, thank you everyone. This weekend @VenueHorse is @DGArtsFest Annan & Stranraer from 1 pm.

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