MANCHESTER, England — “Representatives from the RMT and ASLEF rail worker unions came and showed their solidarity with the nurses. They handed around a sheet with 130 messages of support from workers from Piccadilly Station,” reported the Manchester Evening News Jan. 18 in its coverage of strike action taken that day by nurses here and around the country.
Clayton Clive, a train conductor and Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers union branch secretary, along with Gary Boyle, representing the Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen, handed over the card of messages mostly signed on picket lines during earlier rail workers strike days. Joining the nurses’ picket line “was fantastic and inspiring,” Clive said when he reported back to co-workers.
The rail workers had joined some 60 nurses at a noisy picket line outside Christie hospital to back their fight for a pay raise to match inflation, plus 5%, as well as to protest worsening conditions in the National Health Service.
“National Hell Service,” read a placard held by Fiona Brennan as she and other nurses welcomed this Militant worker-correspondent and fellow rail workers. “You all started this off,” they told us. Since rail workers began a series of strikes months ago more trade unionists have found ways to fight. Ambulance drivers in England and Wales, teachers in Scotland, London bus drivers and nurses nationwide are the latest to walk out.
The nurses told us they rejected demands by Health Secretary Steven Barclay that they accept workplace “efficiencies” before the government would consider a pay raise.