50 Years Ago: Nurses’ Demo against Labour- controlled L.C.C.

The Labour Party majority, who control the London County Council, are in a sea of troubles. Trade Unions with members employed by the L.C.C. and the London Borough Councils complain that the joint meeting of the above bodies — dominated by Labour Councillors — curtly rejected their demand for increases of pay to compensate for the increase of prices. The Councillors. of course, are thinking of the rates. More expenditure means higher rates, and higher rates mean fewer votes for Labour candidates at the next elections.

We see masked nurses addressing meetings of nurses employed at L.C.C. hospitals, called to protest against their conditions of service. Mr G. Vincent Evans. General Secretary of the National Union of County Officers, spoke at one such meeting. and is reported in the Daily Telegraph and Morning Post (April 6th, 1938):

. . . when the Nurses Charter was introduced . . . it was felt that the L.C.C. would set an example to the rest of the country.
Instead, when the testing time came, the L.C.C. showed that such a spirit of leadership was sadly lacking. The result was the use of this inaction as a vicious and indefensible argument for defeating the Limitation of Hours Bill in the House of Commons.
“It was left to the Middlesex County Council.” he went on. “to become the pioneers of this progressive movement of reform when it introduced the 48-hour working week. The lead was followed by many of the voluntary hospitals and other provincial county boroughs.
“Surely the great trade unionist movement in London, and throughout the country, must feel that progress has been stultified.”

[From the Socialist Standard May 1938]