Why I joined: Coral Jones

I joined Doctors in Unite to be part of a trade union that represents all health workers, not only doctors, and a union with a track record of campaigning and industrial struggle. Unite is affiliated to the TUC, and Doctors in Unite is part of the ongoing struggle for health workers terms and conditions, as well as fighting to restore the NHS and end privatisation.

Each member of Doctors in Unite is a committed campaigner for a publicly funded, publicly provided, comprehensive, universal NHS, free at the point of delivery to all who are in the UK, the NHS as Bevan intended.  

Twelve years of below inflation pay awards have left Agenda for Change NHS staff up to 18% worse off than in 2010 and junior doctors have lost 26% of pay over this time. Doctors in Unite supports strike action to restore pay and conditions.

Demands from striking workers across many sectors include restoration of public services after years of reorganisations, privatisation, underfunding and loss of staff.

NHS workers demand safe staffing levels, a reversal of cuts to beds and inpatient, outpatient and community services, and a workforce plan to ensure adequate training places and expansion of NHS services. Members from DiU continue to attend picket lines and marches in support of industrial action and the NHS.

Doctors in Unite campaigns against the hostile environment in the NHS and other public services. We campaign alongside other unions and community groups to end immigration checks and upfront charging for health care – no person is illegal.

During the COVID pandemic, Doctors in Unite has been active in the struggle to ensure safe working conditions in all workplaces and care settings. Members have engaged with Unite Health and Safety reps and the Hazards campaign to produce evidence-based guidance on maintaining safe indoor air using ventilation, HEPA filters, safe distancing guidance and masks.

We also work with the Covid Safety pledge campaign. Members have challenged the ongoing denial by infection control and the World Health Organisation that COVID is spread through airborne transmission rather than droplet spread.

We have created policy documents for the Labour shadow cabinet and for Unite. Members of DiU proposed and seconded the motion at the 2022 Labour Party conference calling for restoration of the NHS along Bevan principles, and an end to privatisation. This motion was passed unanimously.

We are affiliated to other campaigning organisations such as Keep Our NHS Public, Health Campaigns Together and Liberty.

As part of Unite, DiU gains access to the wide experience of workers across the health sector. This deepens our understanding of the challenges facing NHS staff at work and the difficulties for trade union organising in the face of a hostile government and strengthened anti trade union laws.

As chair of DiU, I have the privilege of attending the Health NISC as an observer.