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

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© 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’ largest ever strike motion, which he says is important for workers and affected person welfare alike.

The commercial 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 certainly one of its hardest winters ever.

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

“I’ve just a few workers who’re utilizing meals banks for the time being. I’ve needed to minimize down on numerous issues with the youngsters which I can not afford to offer for them due to the excessive price of dwelling. So it is actually actually robust, for everybody, not simply myself,” he informed Reuters.

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

Strike motion can be impacting Britain’s rail, postal and training 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 informed 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 searching for a pay-rise of 5% above RPI (retail value index) inflation.

That might 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 greater pay, workers would proceed to depart the career, rising the strain on those that stay and finally damaging affected person care.

Billy Palmer, on the Nuffield Belief well being think-tank, informed Reuters that those that have been contemplating leaving “typically cite points round not having sufficient workers to do a very good job”, however their departure additional exacerbates the staffing drawback.

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

Ifeajuna says he has additionally typically thought of quitting.

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

($1 = 0.8237 kilos)

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