NHS Nurses Vote for Biggest Strike in Over a Century Over Pay
Comment of the Day

November 09 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

NHS Nurses Vote for Biggest Strike in Over a Century Over Pay

This article from Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

The strikes could start before the end of this year and last until May 2023, the RCN said in a statement. The historic ballot came after nurses were unhappy when the government offered them a package in July that would see the average nurse’s pay increasing 4%.

Strikes are currently sweeping across the UK from rail to ports as the worst inflation in four decades is eroding workers’ real income and living conditions. Workers in the country’s health sector are under particular pressure as the Covid-19 pandemic enters its third year and with many hospitals struggling to cope with long waiting lists of patients needing treatment and packed Accident & Emergency departments. 

Industrial action will only take place in health-care settings that met the relevant legal requirements but the majority of NHS employers will be affected, the RCN said. 

“Anger has become action - our members are saying enough is enough,” said Pat Cullen, RCN General Secretary & Chief Executive. “Our members will no longer tolerate a financial knife-edge at home and a raw deal at work.” 

Unison is currently balloting 350,000 other NHS employees across England, Wales and Northern Ireland to strike over pay. The Royal College of Midwives and the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy are also organizing ballots for their members in November, raising the possibility of the UK facing coordinated strikes across different health unions.

Eoin Treacy's view

Strike action from the NHS was inevitable. It’s a large worker group with strong union representation in a vital sector. That means workers are in a better position to pressure the government into concessions than other interest groups which is all the incentive required to push the issue. 

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