In Britain, nurses put together for unprecedented strike over pay By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Nurses react as they deal with a COVID-19 affected person within the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) at Milton Keynes College Hospital, amid the unfold of the coronavirus illness (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 within the south of England, loves his job, however subsequent month will stroll out for 2 days as a part of British nurses’ greatest ever strike motion, which he says is critical for workers and affected person welfare alike.

The economic motion on Dec. 15 and Dec. 20 is unprecedented within the British nursing union’s 106-year historical past, and comes because the state-run Nationwide Well being Service (NHS) braces for one in all its hardest winters ever.

Ifeajuna has seen members of his group depart to work in supermarkets, the place there’s much less stress and higher pay, whereas he has needed to in the reduction of on spending.

“I’ve a couple of workers who’re utilizing meals banks in the meanwhile. I’ve needed to reduce down on quite a lot of issues with the youngsters which I can not afford to supply for them due to the excessive price of residing. So it is actually actually robust, for everybody, not simply myself,” he advised Reuters.

“We’re hanging as a result of we should be paid higher. We have not had respectable pay for over a decade now.”

Strike motion can also be impacting Britain’s rail, postal and schooling sectors as staff battle with hovering costs.

Patricia Marquis, director of the Royal School of Nursing (RCN) union in England, stated the federal government should hear.

“This isn’t one thing that nurses do on the drop of a hat,” she advised Reuters.


The RCN says skilled nurses like Ifeajuna are 20% worse off in actual phrases than they have been in 2010 after a string of below-inflation pay awards, and are looking for a pay-rise of 5% above RPI (retail worth index) inflation.

That may quantity to a payrise of 19.2%, primarily based on October’s inflation knowledge. The federal government says the RCN calls for would price 10 billion kilos ($12.14 billion) a yr and are unaffordable.

However the RCN’s Marquis stated that with out larger pay, workers would proceed to go away the occupation, rising the strain on those that stay and in the end damaging affected person care.

Billy Palmer, on the Nuffield Belief well being think-tank, advised Reuters that those that have been contemplating leaving “usually cite points round not having sufficient workers to do an excellent job”, however their departure additional exacerbates the staffing downside.

“It is probably the most vicious of cycles,” he stated.

Ifeajuna says he has additionally generally thought-about quitting.

“However every time I’ve had the possibility, I form of needed to pause for a minute and say ‘I can not depart my sufferers. I can not depart my colleagues to undergo alone’,” he stated.

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