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Workers stage biggest strike in UK health service history

Workers stage biggest strike in UK health service history


  • Biggest strike in NHS 75-year history
  • Government urges workers to call off strike
  • Solidarity unions call on prime minister to hold wage negotiations

LONDON, Feb 6 (Reuters) – Tens of thousands of nurses and ambulance service workers quit their jobs on Monday amid a wage war, further straining Britain’s national health service in the biggest strike ever.

Nurses and paramedics have been on separate strikes since late last year, but Monday’s strike, which took place mainly in England, was the largest in the NHS’s 75-year history.

With nurses leaving on Tuesday, paramedics on Friday and physiotherapists on Thursday, it will likely be the most disruptive week in the NHS’s history, says its medical director Stephen Powis. said Mr.

Healthcare workers are demanding pay increases, reflecting the UK’s worst inflation in 40 years. The government says it is out of reach and will cause further price increases, pushing interest rates and mortgage payments even higher.

“The government needs to listen and discuss payments, not just say the NHS has no money,” said Esna Vaughan, a nurse who took part in a demonstration outside St Thomas’ Hospital in central London. rice field.

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“We can’t live on what we are paid for”

About 500,000 workers, mostly in the public sector, have been on strike since last summer, putting pressure on Prime Minister Rishisunak to resolve the dispute and limit disruptions to public services such as railways and schools.

Unions at the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) wrote to Mr Sunak over the weekend urging him to “quickly end” the nursing strike by making a “meaningful” wage offer.

A Sunak spokesperson said on Monday that the prime minister has no plans to join the negotiations, adding: “We would like to continue discussing with the union how we can find a way forward.”

Minister for Mental Health and Women’s Health Strategy Maria Caulfield told Sky News on Monday:

“So for every 1 percent of a raise, money is taken away.”

“Dark Future”

The NHS, a source of pride for most Britons, is under extreme pressure with millions of patients. waiting list Thousands of people do not have access to prompt emergency care each month.

According to RCN, a decade of low wages has left tens of thousands of nurses out of the workforce, with 25,000 leaving last year alone, and severe staffing shortages affecting patient care.

“We have to look to the future. That’s all … looks like a very bleak future,” said Rebecca Cosgrave, a nurse at the St. Thomas’ Hospital demonstration.

“Many people have already quit the profession because they are disillusioned,” she said, explaining how low wages made it difficult to recruit more nurses.

The RCN initially called for a wage increase of 5% above inflation and has since said it would be able to meet with the government “on the way”, but despite weeks of talks, the two sides failed to reach an agreement. could not reach.

Meanwhile, thousands of ambulance workers, represented by the GMB and Unite unions, plan to go on strike Monday over their own wage disputes.Announced by both associations A few more days of industrial action.

Not all paramedics go on strike right away and respond to emergency calls.

In Wales, nurses and some paramedics canceled the strike It is scheduled for Monday to consider a salary offer from the Welsh government.

Reported by Sachin Ravikumar. Additional reporting by Elizabeth Piper and Sarah Young.Editing by Janet Lawrence

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.




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