From the very outset, our movement had a dream – healthcare for all, at no cost, available to everyone. Seventy years ago that dream became a reality, with the establishment of the National Health Service.
Fathered by Nye Bevan, but built and maintained by the hands of millions health workers, the NHS – not the buildings, but the people – is the crowning achievement of the labour movement, a clear example of socialism in action and the envy of the world.
Next week, our NHS reaches its latest major milestone – 70 years. Generations have been born and cared for in it. All of us, wherever we live or work, have had our lives touched by it.
This weekend, we come together to celebrate it.
On Saturday, UNISON will march through the streets of London in to celebrate and defend the National Health Service. We will stand alongside those who rely on it, cherish it and campaign for it to demand the end of privatisation and cutbacks in our health service – and show our thanks for the UNISON members who make the NHS so special.
I’m proud that our union, so intertwined with this incredible institution, has been the biggest contributor to getting this march organised. On Saturday, our union will march – purple and green banners and flags flying high – as we stand up for our National Health Service.
National demonstration: March Against Racism March 18 2017, UN Anti-Racism Day London, Glasgow and Cardiff
Supported by the
Stand Up To Trump, Refugees and Migrants Welcome – Stand Up To Islamophobia & Anti-Semitism, EU Workers – Here To Stay, Black Lives Matters.
Amid a vitriolic atmosphere of anti-migrant hysteria following the EU referendum, Prime Minister Theresa May has announced she will trigger article 50 by the end of March 2017 in order to “have the freedom to choose the way we control immigration.”
In a situation where migrants, Muslim women and anyone considered to be ‘foreign’ are being attacked on a daily basis and refugees are being abandoned by Britain and Europe to destitution, drowning and exploitation, there has never been a more important time in recent history to stand up to racism.
On March 18th, let’s to make the Stand Up To Racism demonstration for UN Anti-Racism Day the biggest yet, to show that Theresa May does not speak for us when she blames migrants and refugees for the problems cause by austerity and the financial crisis, and that we are united against racism, Islamophobia and anti-Semitism
Over the past 4 years, Stand Up to Racism has organised protests in defence of migrants and refugees. At our recent conference, 1,500 participants – including Jeremy Corbyn, Diane Abbott, Lord Alf Dubs and others – launched a mass anti racist movement. Join us in London in March 2017 to stand up to racism together.
Organised by Stand Up to Racism – More details tbc
We must fight to save our NHS from destruction. The threat is real. It is happening now. Hospitals, GPs, mental health, ambulance and community services are on their knees.
Private companies are gaining an ever greater foothold within the NHS. Years of pay restraint has seen the value of NHS staff salaries reduce by 14% since 2010. The government’s Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) are a smokescreen for a massive programme of hospital and community service closures, and are its latest instrument for privatisation.
The NHS is one of our greatest achievements. We cannot allow it to be undermined and ultimately destroyed.
Our NHS, fight for it
Our NHS needs you to fight for it. We must march together, sending a clear message to the government – “the NHS will last as long as there are folk with the faith to fight for it.”
Parliamentary drop-in session on Wednesday 16 November to raise awareness of the devastating impact of cuts to older people’s social care services.
The session forms part of UNISON’s Save Our Local Services (SOS) campaign.
It will be a chance for you to find out more about the impact of the government’s unfair cuts to local government funding on the care of the elderly as well as care workers.
There will also be the opportunity to have your photo taken in support of the campaign day and sign a pledge board that will read:
“I call on the government to increase funding to older people’s social care services.”
As you will know, social care services that support older people (aged over 65) – mainly homecare, residential care and, day care services – are vital for them to live independent and happier lives at home and in their communities.
Age UK has estimated that £1.95bn has been lost from social care budgets over the past 10 years due to central government cuts.
It is clear that these cuts are having a detrimental impact on older people’s services.
As part of research UNISON is currently compiling, we carried out a survey of social care workers on their experience of the impact of budget cuts over the past six years. 64% of the 1,075 respondents said that they had found there was a higher number of patients with more intensive care needs.
At the same time, 65% of the responders said there fewer staff and 63% of the respondents said that they had less time to spend with patients.
So as demand for services has increased, there are fewer staff, spending less time with patients.
So please to take part in the day of action on 16 November and show your support for this vital campaign – for better care for older people and an end to the downward spiral in pay and terms and conditions for those working in this sector.
We would be delighted if you would be able to attend.