More than 16,000 patients had procedures and appointments cancelled today as a result of a public services day of action in protest at proposed cuts in next month’s budget. A quarter of a million public sector workers took part in the 24-hour stoppage which resulted in closing schools, delaying social welfare payments and disrupting hospital services. Our economy is broke and with just weeks to go to a tough budget, a nationwide strike is the last thing this country needs.
Today’s day of action will have done nothing constructive and will only add to the problems. Those that work in public services are lucky to have secure jobs and pensions. The real casualties of the economic downturn are the many thousands who have lost their jobs in the private sector. Public sector workers are now threatening to stage a second nationwide strike on December 3.
After today’s disruption of the health service, I’ve lost any sympathy for public sector workers. In the midst of a serious swine flu pandemic, it’s outrageous that vaccination clinics were cancelled today. I find it totally unacceptable that the public sector unions have dragged the most vulnerable in society into a dispute with government over their terms and conditions. As my own health has been put at risk by this dispute, I have good reason to protest.