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‘Fair Pay’: Over 300,000 UK nurses to begin biggest ever strike over inflation

Photo: RCN

*Members of the UK Royal College of Nursing have voted for the biggest strike in the union’s 106-year history to demand a pay rise of 5 percent above inflation, a move likely to see patients facing disruption to operations and appointments

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

The protest march, supported by Unite the union, has urged incoming NHS England Chief Executive Amanda Pritchard to ensure that a NHS pay rise comes from new Treasury funds rather than existing NHS budgets.

It was learnt the move is expected to put a consultative ballot for industrial action to its members.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak

The exact details about the strikes have not yet been finalised, but they are set to take place within a few weeks, possibly before Christmas, as the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) demands a pay rise of 5 percent above inflation, according to report.

While nursing staff have voted to strike across the UK in the first ever national action in the union’s 106-year history over a pay dispute, counting is under way in the ballot of over 300,000 RCN members, having voted for a winter walkout.

General Secretary Pat Cullen said: “Our strike will be as much for patients as it is for nurses – we have their support in doing this.”but it will likely see patients facing disruption to operations and appointments amid record NHS waiting lists.

In spit of the sketchy details of the proposed strike, it was learnt the action would likely see patients facing disruption to operations and appointments amid record NHS waiting lists.

A union source told the Observer, “this will see the majority of services taken out, and picket lines across the country.”

It comes as UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Chancellor Jeremy Hunt face the huge challenge of tackling a £50billion hole in public finances.

RCN General Secretary  Cullen, in a statement, said: “Patients are at a great risk when there aren’t enough nurses.

“Huge numbers of staff – both experienced and newer recruits – are deciding they cannot see a future in a nursing profession that is not valued nor treated fairly.

“As we begin action, politicians in every part of the UK will be challenged to back their nursing staff and understand the strength of public support.”

The RCN also disclosed there are record nursing vacancies, and in the last year 25,000 nursing staff around the UK left the Nursing and Midwifery Council register.

It said recent analysis showed an experienced nurse’s salary has fallen by 20 percent in real terms since 2010.

The goodwill of nursing staff is being ‘exploited’ by UK governments, stated the health union.

According to Cullen, as a nurse for many years, “I have listened to every politician who promised to support us.

“We never went on strike due to our commitment to our patients.

“Now many of us are on the poverty line working 12hour shifts and burning out.

“It’s time to make a statement and Walk.

How many other workers salaries are lower than nurses they will struggle too with everything going up.”

The General Secretary further noted that the admin staff and the other staff who work for the NHS on low income just got £1,400 payrise recently, and they were grateful for that.

“When this was mentioned to the nurses, they said £1,400 is nothing for them they want a lot more.

“Fair enough they do long hours shifts and have Staff shortages which needs to be looked at of how reducing there shift hours and getting more staff will help their health and wellbeing.

But it seems like more greed, they want to say we are nurses; we look after people and should get more money.

Patient care doesn’t matter but more money does.”

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