Around 30 health campaigners protested outside a Virgin store on London’s Oxford Street on Saturday against the company’s plans to take over NHS services.
The action was called by London Keep Our NHS Public and supported by activists from UK Uncut and trade unionists from London hospitals including Guy’s, St Thomas’ and King’s College Hospital.
Gareth Page, a Unite rep at St Thomas’ hospital, said that Virgin was one of several private companies looking to make a profit by taking over health services previously run directly by the NHS.
Protesters had planned to occupy the Virgin store, but it was already closed for the day—perhaps in anticipation of being occupied.
Instead they leafleted passers-by and moved on to occupy a Sainsbury’s on Tottenham Court Road. Sainsbury’s are the “preferred bidders” for the contract to run pharmacy services at Guy’s and St Thomas’.
One shopper told Socialist Worker, “Supermarket companies shouldn’t be running parts of the health service. That makes no sense and it’s pretty scary. You’re doing the right thing.”