Nurses in England, Wales and Northern Ireland said they had no choice but to strike on December 15 and 20 after the British government declined an offer to negotiate.
Next month, most UK nurses will go on strike for the first time in the union’s 106-year history, as other groups of UK workers take industrial action over wages.
Staff in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will resign on December 15 and 20, not Scotland, after unions at the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) said the government had turned down an offer to negotiate.
It would be the latest industrial action in Britain, where decades of high inflation and a cost of living crisis have led staff in various sectors to demand pay increases to keep up with soaring prices.
RCN England director Patricia Marquis apologized to patients who had planned to stop surgeries and treatments on Friday, saying: “Nurses not only stood up for themselves, but also critically for their patients. I got up,” he said.
“I’m sorry for the confusion, but really, unless we do this, there’s no hope that things will change anytime soon,” she told Sky News.
The nurses’ strike is sandwiched between the first of a series of two-day strikes by national railroad workers, and postal service employees are set to make another stoppage in the run-up to Christmas.
Many other public and private sector staff also went on strike this year, from lawyers to airport ground staff.
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NHS officials said in September that nurses were skipping meals to feed and clothe children and were struggling to cover rising transport costs.
A quarter of hospitals have set up food banks to support staff, according to NHS Providers, which represents a group of UK hospitals.
“Nursing staff have long experienced being taken for granted, underpaid, unsafe staffing and inability to provide the care patients deserve.
The union, which wants wage increases well above inflation, said earlier this month that more than 300,000 members voted in favor of a strike with a majority.
Britain’s Health Secretary Steve Barclay said on Friday he was open to negotiations with the nurses union RCN, but stressed the benefits of wage increases set by the government in July.
Barclay stressed that the previously announced salary increase of at least $1,695.26 (£1,400) means that a newly qualified nurse’s normal annual salary will exceed £31,000.
“The NHS[National Health Service]has been experimenting with plans to minimize disruption and ensure emergency services continue to function, but strike action will inevitably affect services. dear,” he said on Twitter.
Last year, 25,000 nursing staff left the Register of Nurses and Midwives Council (NMC).
Source: TRTWorld and institutions
https://www.trtworld.com/europe/nurses-across-uk-join-other-striking-staff-in-two-december-walkouts-62893?utm_source=other&utm_medium=rss Nurses across Britain join other impressive staff in two strikes in December