British Nurses Will Go On Two Days Strike In Dec. Over Pay Dispute

British Nurses Will Go On Two Days Strike In Dec. Over Pay Dispute.

Thousands of British nurses will strike for higher pay on December 15 and 20, according to their union, adding to a winter of industrial action and putting additional strain on the state-run health system.

The strikes are the first of what could be a series of walkouts by National Health Service (NHS) nurses after the government refused to meet demands for 5% pay increases above inflation.

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“Nursing staff have had enough of being taken for granted, enough of low pay and unsafe staffing levels, enough of not being able to give our patients the care they deserve,” Royal College of Nursing (RCN) General Secretary Pat Cullen said.

In the two weeks since the RCN announced nurses would go on strike for the first time in the union’s 106-year history, Cullen said the government had declined formal negotiations.

British Health Secretary Steve Barclay stated that the nurses’ demands would amount to a 19.2% pay increase costing 10 billion pounds ($12.13 billion) per year and that the government would give them at least 1,400 pounds this year.

“These are challenging times for everyone and the economic circumstances mean the RCN’s demands … are not affordable,” Barclay said.

He stated that the NHS had plans in place to minimize any disruption caused by the strikes and to ensure emergency services continuity.

The strikes will add to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s pressure as Britain faces an impending economic recession and a cost-of-living crisis, with inflation reaching a 41-year high of 11.1% in October.

The NHS, which has provided free healthcare at the point of use since 1948, is now dealing with a record 7 million patients on hospital waiting lists. Accident and emergency rooms are also understaffed.

He stated that the NHS had plans in place to minimize any disruption caused by the strikes and to ensure emergency services continuity.

The strikes will add to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s pressure as Britain faces an impending economic recession and a cost-of-living crisis, with inflation reaching a 41-year high of 11.1% in October.

The NHS, which has provided free healthcare at the point of use since 1948, is now dealing with a record 7 million patients on hospital waiting lists. Accident and emergency rooms are also understaffed.

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“Why on Earth is the Health Secretary refusing to negotiate with nurses?” the opposition Labour Party’s health spokesperson Wes Streeting said.

“Patients already can’t get treated on time, strike action is the last thing they need, yet the Government is letting this happen.”

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