SolidariTea with the Junior Doctors – 26th-28th April, 2016

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Greens stand with the Junior Doctors at St George’s Hospital, Tooting, on 7th April 2016

Once again, it’s time to show the Junior Doctors and the NHS some SolidariTea – put on a SolidariTea event at your local hospital from 26th-28th April!

SolidariTea is a simple way for local Green Party members to show support for striking BMA junior doctors. Help the doctors stand up for a safe NHS and for decent working conditions – and send a message to the Tories that what they are doing is irresponsible and unfair.

You can do all this simply by showing solidarity at your local BMA picket line and bringing tea and coffee for the striking doctors!

The Green Party is 100% behind the BMA junior doctors and fully supports their industrial action.

Here’s what you can do:

  • Read our tips on holding a SolidariTea event below.
  • Choose a local BMA picket line at a hospital or NHS site – see the BMA’s map of its 147 planned picket lines here. (Many local BMA doctors are on Facebook or Twitter – if they are, make contact, and ask them if and when they are going to be there!)
  • Choose a time. We recommend holding your SolidariTea events from 8am onwards on Tuesday 26th or Wednesday 27th April. There is likely to be more activity on Tuesday 26th. If you want to squeeze in some SolidariTea before work, 8am on Tuesday would be the best time.
  • Find some friends and local Green Party activists who are willing to come along.
  • Contact us and let us know you’re holding your event – and let us know if we can support you in any way!
  • Take lots of photos on the day and share them on Facebook and Twitter – make sure to use the hashtag #SolidariTea as well as the BMA’s hashtag, #NotSafeNotFair.

Why are the junior doctors on strike?

bri-picketJunior Doctors in the BMA union are striking against Jeremy Hunt and the government’s plans to impose new contracts that have been universally panned as being #NotSafeNotFair.

These new contracts remove financial penalties for NHS trusts that place Junior Doctor’s on ‘fatiguing’ shift patterns (and are thus liable to enable unsafe working conditions – tired doctors make mistakes), and unfairly attack Junior Doctor’s pay by reclassifying an additional 50% of currently unsocial hours as part of the standard working week.

Furthermore, the cost of unsocial hours payments has often been cited by private healthcare firms as a barrier to their taking over of staff and some contracts, and by removing them will likely accelerate the outsourcing of staff and the general privatisation of NHS services.

Because of the Government’s continued refusal to talk, the doctors are now on an all-out strike, i.e. even emergency doctors are set to strike. Although the government has “climbed down” and downgraded its “imposition” to a mere “introduction,” the contract is still likely to have a devastating impact on doctors and on the NHS.

The Green Party is 100% behind the junior doctors, and encourages all members to do what they can to support them.

How to organise a Solidari-Tea event – a few handy tips

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GPTU’s Will Quick showing Solidari-Tea at the Bristol Royal Infirmary

Solidari-Tea was pioneered by our very own Will Quick, GPTU’s campaigns officer, early on in the junior doctors’ dispute. Here are his tips on how to make Solidari-Tea a success.

Also read Will’s blog post here!

  1. When it comes to flasks, obviously the longer they keep your liquids hot and the more they hold, the better.  You can easily pick up some reasonable and large flasks from most supermarkets for under a tenner (though if you can find a sustainable small business offering a good deal, go for it)
  2. Make some placards – the tea will be well appreciated, but you want people to know who’s brought it, and show your presence on the picket line – placards will do all this
  3. If you’ve got big flasks, a big mixing bowl filled with tea bags will be very helpful, as a rule of thumb you’ll want around 1 tea bag for every 300mls or so of water (depending on your tea bags and how strong you like your brew)
  4. Keep your tea and milk separate.  This way it’ll stay hotter for longer in your flasks, you can bring more tea down to the picket with you, and you’ll be able to cater to anyone who doesn’t take milk in their tea
  5. Try and go in a group, and divide the roles between you.  Have one person dishing out tea, another on milk duty (and if you’re ambitious another doing sugar and even someone taking round some coffee).  Periodically go around offering everyone tea, or put your flasks, milk and drinking receptacles in a prominent place with a ‘Solidari-Tea’ sign encouraging people to help themselves.
  6. Try and get some reusable cups.  Porcelain mugs will likely break, and those polystyrene ones are a menace to the environment.  The paper ones aren’t so bad (but may not withstand the heat).
  7. Make sure you bring a SPOON to stir your SolidariTea
  8. Take some pictures.  People are very appreciative of the free hot tea on a cold dreary picket, and are usually only too happy to pose for a picture.  And don’t be afraid to send out a short press release from the local party if you get a good group down, local Greens bring Solidari-Tea to the picket makes a great story.