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Loach calls for all workers to rally behind junior doctors

WORKERS should take secondary action to support the junior doctors in their fight to save the NHS, film-maker Ken Loach has said.

The acclaimed director, whose films include Cathy Come Home and the recent Jimmy’s Hall, addressed a solidarity meeting in London organised by the People’s Assembly on Wednesday night.

“This is a direct and ideological attack on the whole idea of the NHS,” he stormed.

He called the heroic struggle to resist Tory cuts to unsocial hours payments “a challenge for the rest of the labour movement,” warning that activists “couldn’t leave the whole campaign” to the doctors themselves.

“During the miners’ strike railwaymen refused to carry coal. Now we’ve got to get the same action going again.”

He said Scottish Rolls Royce had refused to repair aircraft engines from Chile and had severely hampered General Pinochet’s military regime.

“Now, if we can ground half of Pinochet’s airforce we can surely help the junior doctors win their case.

“Every trade union and every branch has got to think creatively — I know the laws about solidarity action and all of that — about what they can do.”

At a parallel meeting in Cambridge, junior doctor Helen Foakes told a large audience that the contract was part of the government’s wider strategy to undermine the hospitals, leaving hospitals underfunded and short-staffed so ministers could say the NHS is failing.

Cambridge People’s Assembly spokesman Steve Sweeney said the attacks on the NHS were part of the “biggest transfer of wealth from the poorest of society to the rich in generations.”

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