French organisations support healthcare staff in calling for a demonstration on 16 June

“The ‘new normal’ or ‘post-COVID world’ can only be built if we rally behind an alternative to capitalism. This system crushes our livelihoods as it stifles the planet.”

In a unified statement, several political organisations are calling for everyone to join them on June 16th for a day of rallying for health causes including various gatherings and protests.

The ordeal that we are going through, which is health-care related, social, political and ecological all at once, has emerged not only from a global pandemic.

The destruction of our health system, with its layoffs, bed closures and reduction in hospital services as well as the never-ending assaults on health insurance — these have all amplified the issue. For several years, this government, like the ones before, has refused to listen to the demonstrations of those working in the health-care field, in care homes, in the health and social sectors or to psychiatric experts. A year ago, well before the COVID-19 pandemic, those working in A&E / ER had already sounded the alarm over the degradation of hospitals and over the paralysis of our health care system and its staff.

In the context of this health crisis, nursing staff and all ‘front-line’ workers have carried out their duty and have continued to do so under difficult circumstances. Like many employees in recent months, they have had to work so that life may go on even though health safety measures have not been respected, even though there has not been enough personal protective equipment (PPE), and despite staff shortages, a lack of jobs, etc.

Thanks to the lifting of lockdown, hospitals have started to rally for better working conditions, a pay raise of up to 300 euros as well as more beds in hospitals, especially in intensive care.

And what does the government answer to this? They give us a never-ending dialogue which they call the “Ségur” from which nothing concrete emerges, and they want to give medals to reward ‘the heroes’!

During lockdown everyday we clapped for hospital staff, but that is no longer enough. Now we have to be by their side because their fight is ours too. By protecting public services and by rallying for pay rises, they are fighting for a more equal society, they are fighting to roll back the dominance of market society and of fiscal management, and for a different kind of redistribution.

Our political organisations are not deaf to these causes and they call on us all to join them on Tuesday June 16th to rally for health causes and to participate in different meetings and protests on this day, all while respecting social distancing measures.

We will be there to demand for answers to be finally given regarding this healthcare crisis: distribution of free masks; free and accessible testing; repurposing of factories and businesses so that they can produce masks and medical equipment; patenting of drugs and of the future vaccine against COVID-19 to be placed into global public ownership.

We also relay the demands of those rallying, their unions and their collectives.

On top of this, we demand an emergency plan for public hospitals: a massive recruitment drive for staff, starting with 100,000 recruitments under public service status; a pay rise of at least 300 euros; cancellation of plans to close sites or services; re-opening of 100,000 beds which have been removed over the past 20 years; scrapping of the pricing system of medical acts (T2A) which forces hospitals to operate like businesses; reassessment the 2009 ‘Bachelot’ law and of the powers of the Regional Health Agencies (ARS) so that there can be a democratic operation for public hospitalisation, bringing together medical staff, paramedics, service users and territories; cancellation of the hospital debt and increase of the hospital budgets.

We also need a public service for the elderly in need of care which would break away from the market in this sector and increase the number of staff working in care-homes and social care.

In terms of social security/health insurance, we demand the reimbursement of the scandalous exemptions, while increasing its resources and restoring democratic management.

The World After Coronavirus can only be built when we rally behind an alternative to capitalism. This system crushes our lives as it stifles the planet. On tuesday 16th June, this day for health and social protection cannot be overlooked.

Organisations :

DiEM25 ;
Ensemble ! ;
Gauche démocratique et sociale ;
Génération-s ;
La France insoumise ;
Nouveau parti anticapitaliste ;
Pour une écologie populaire et sociale ;
République et socialisme ;
Union communiste libertaire.

English translation of original publication by Dan Israel on the 21 Mars 2020 on Médiapart.

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