In Britain, nurses prepare for unprecedented strike over pay By Reuters
World 9 minutes ago (Nov 24, 2022 07:10PM ET)
(C) Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Nurses react as they treat a COVID-19 patient in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) at Milton Keynes University Hospital, amid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, Milton Keynes, Britain, January 20, 2021. REUTERS/Toby Melvill
By Natalie Thomas and Alistair Smout
GOSPORT, England/LONDON (Reuters) – Chukwudubem Ifeajuna, a nurse in the south of England, loves his job, but next month will walk out for two days as part of British nurses’ biggest ever strike action, which he says is necessary for staff and patient welfare alike.
The industrial action on Dec. 15 and Dec. 20 is unprecedented in the British nursing union’s 106-year history, and comes as the state-run National Health Service (NHS) braces for one of its toughest winters ever.
Ifeajuna has seen members of his team leave to work in supermarkets, where there is less stress and better pay, while he has had to cut back on spending.
“I have a few staff who are using food banks at the moment. I’ve had to cut down on a lot of things with the kids which I can’t afford to provide for them because of the high cost of living. So it’s really really tough, for everyone, not just myself,” he told Reuters.
“We are striking because we deserve to be paid better. We haven’t had decent pay for over a decade now.”
Strike action is also impacting Britain’s rail, postal and education sectors as workers struggle with soaring prices.
Patricia Marquis, director of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) union in England, said the government must listen.
“This is not something that nurses do at the drop of a hat,” she told Reuters.
‘MOST VICIOUS OF CYCLES’
The RCN says experienced nurses like Ifeajuna are 20% worse off in real terms than they were in 2010 after a string of below-inflation pay awards, and are seeking a pay-rise of 5% above RPI (retail price index) inflation.
That would amount to a payrise of 19.2%, based on October’s inflation data. The government says the RCN demands would cost 10 billion pounds ($12.14 billion) a year and are unaffordable.
But the RCN’s Marquis said that without higher pay, staff would continue to leave the profession, increasing the pressure on those who remain and ultimately damaging patient care.
Billy Palmer, at the Nuffield Trust health think-tank, told Reuters that those who were considering leaving “often cite issues around not having enough staff to do a good job”, but their departure further exacerbates the staffing problem.
“It’s the most vicious of cycles,” he said.
Ifeajuna says he has also sometimes considered quitting.
“But each time I’ve had the chance, I sort of had to pause for a minute and say ‘I can’t leave my patients. I can’t leave my colleagues to suffer alone’,” he said.
($1 = 0.8237 pounds)
In Britain, nurses prepare for unprecedented strike over pay
By Jay Paul and Nathan Layne CHESAPEAKE, Va. (Reuters) -A Walmart (NYSE:WMT) supervisor armed with a handgun and several magazines of ammunition opened fire on fellow employees in…
By Pavel Polityuk and Tom Balmforth KYIV (Reuters) – Much of Ukraine on Thursday remained without heat or power after the most devastating Russian air strikes on its energy grid…
By David Alire Garcia MEXICO CITY (Reuters) -An extensive cache of Aztec ritual offerings found underneath downtown Mexico City, off the steps of what would have been the empire’s…
(C) 2007-2022 Fusion Media Limited. All Rights Reserved.
Risk Disclosure: Trading in financial instruments and/or cryptocurrencies involves high risks including the risk of losing some, or all, of your investment amount, and may not be suitable for all investors. Prices of cryptocurrencies are extremely volatile and may be affected by external factors such as financial, regulatory or political events. Trading on margin increases the financial risks.Before deciding to trade in financial instrument or cryptocurrencies you should be fully informed of the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, carefully consider your investment objectives, level of experience, and risk appetite, and seek professional advice where needed.Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. The data and prices on the website are not necessarily provided by any market or exchange, but may be provided by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual price at any given market, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Fusion Media and any provider of the data contained in this website will not accept liability for any loss or damage as a result of your trading, or your reliance on the information contained within this website.It is prohibited to use, store, reproduce, display, modify, transmit or distribute the data contained in this website without the explicit prior written permission of Fusion Media and/or the data provider. All intellectual property rights are reserved by the providers and/or the exchange providing the data contained in this website.Fusion Media may be compensated by the advertisers that appear on the website, based on your interaction with the advertisements or advertisers.