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UK Health Strikes Looming

UK Health Strikes Looming

Nurses claim that their pay has not kept up with inflation over the last decade.

Nurses and ambulance workers increased their demands for higher pay on Monday, launching their largest round of healthcare strikes to combat the UK’s cost-of-living crisis.

Paramedics and nurses will strike on the same day for the first time, as part of a wave of industrial action across the UK economy.

Nurses claim that their pay has not kept up with inflation over the last decade, leaving them unable to pay their bills in the face of rising fuel, food, and housing costs.

They warn that qualified nurses are leaving in droves as a result of financial pressures, resulting in understaffing, which jeopardizes patient care.

“We’re on our feet all the time, breaking our backs doing the jobs of three people,” said Victoria Busk, a trainee nursing associate at Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

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“I enjoy my job and enjoy making a difference in the lives of patients. But I can’t see myself doing it until I’m in my 60s “She stated.

Last week, 500,000 people at UK air and seaports, including teachers, transportation workers, and Border Force personnel, went on strike over pay.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) union said the strike on Monday would affect nurses in roughly one-third of hospital trusts in England and the majority of Wales.

‘Sympathy’

However, the ambulance staff strike would only affect England after paramedics in Wales called off their planned action in response to an improved pay offer.

Health minister Maria Caulfield, who is also a nurse, expressed sympathy for striking healthcare workers but claimed that large pay raises were not feasible.

“I’m an RCN member, so I’m in both camps if you will. “I have a lot of sympathies,” she told GB News.

“But we also have a responsibility to the taxpayer… we simply cannot afford the inflationary pay increases that the unions are currently demanding.”

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British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has called for “reasonable” and “affordable” pay increases, warning that large pay raises will jeopardize efforts to control inflation.

Earlier, Health Secretary Steve Barclay urged unions to call off Monday’s strike.

“The Governor of the Bank of England warned that attempting to beat inflation with large pay increases would only make things worse and people worse off,” he said.

“I have had constructive discussions with trade unions about pay and affordability, and I continue to urge them to call off the strikes.”

However, Sharon Graham, general secretary of the Unite union, accused Barclay of “not telling the truth” because neither he nor Sunak were willing to discuss pay.

“To me, that is an abdication of responsibility (because) the dispute is about pay – how can they claim to be in talks?” she told the BBC.

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