The mental health emergency across Northern Ireland was brought starkly into focus this week, with protests being held by two different campaign groups within days of each other.
In an unprecedented move, 98% of members at a consultative meeting of Community Pharmacy Northern Ireland (CPNI) – representing pharmacy contractors – voted to take industrial action over a funding crisis which they described as leaving “crucial frontline services” at “breaking point”.
The raising of tuition fees would be a direct attack on access to higher education, especially for working-class students. It is part and parcel of a broader strategy of “marketisation” in education. Westminster is committed to de-regulating the higher education sector in favour of private companies, creating what it calls a ‘level playing field’ for profit-making companies. Stormont has not stood in the way and has facilitated this approach at every stage.
Following 8 days of heroic industrial action by UCU members at 60 Universities, our employers are trying to give the appearance of concessions. In reality they have offered no concrete promises. This time, workers at 14 more universities will join the picket lines after smashing the Tories undemocratic anti-union laws at the second attempt.