Green Councillors will join hundreds of local campaigners and trade union members tomorrow in a high-profile protest march to support Junior Doctors across the country, who will be holding a 48-hour strike action from the 6th-7th April.
The protest, which has been organised by the Brighton Trades Council, will assemble at 8.00am in Barts Square in Brighton and will march to Royal Sussex County Hospital, where the Junior Doctors will be picketing. The strike will affect non-emergency care.
The dispute revolves around the new contract for junior doctors which the Government is planning to unilaterally impose after failing to reach agreement with the British Medical Association (BMA). The contract has been roundly criticised for requiring Junior Doctors to work more weekends with fewer pay incentives, increasing risks of dangerous working patterns and disproportionately impacting on women.
Convenor of the Green Group of Councillors, Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty said:
“The Government is hoping that the Junior Doctor’s strike will lose the popular support it has enjoyed so far. Tomorrow is another opportunity to ensure that won’t happen. Greens will be marching to send a clear message that the community continues to stand in solidarity with Junior Doctors and their challenge to central government.
“The Government is determined to press ahead with its plans on junior doctor contracts despite widespread opposition. It is nothing other than an attempt to bully junior doctors by imposing unsafe and unfair contracts.
“There is a widespread fear that this represents the thin end of the wedge in terms of a wholesale attack on terms and conditions in the health service. If the Secretary of State gets away with this, he will come back for more with other parts of the workforce. Like Thatcher attacking the miners in the 80s on her way to attacking other less well-organised workers, if Mr Hunt can get away with attacking a powerful part of the NHS workforce he will come back for others.
“But this is also about the Conservative Government continuing the piece-by-piece privatisation of the NHS. The proposed changes to the contract will have a disproportionate impact on women and is likely to harm recruitment of new doctors. That is something I’m deeply concerned about because of the impact on Brighton & Hove’s NHS services which are under such immense pressure already.