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 important for employees 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 considered one of its hardest winters ever.

Ifeajuna has seen members of his workforce 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 a number of employees who’re utilizing meals banks for the time being. I’ve needed to lower down on a whole lot of issues with the youngsters which I can not afford to supply for them due to the excessive price of dwelling. So it is actually actually powerful, for everybody, not simply myself,” he instructed Reuters.

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

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

Patricia Marquis, director of the Royal Faculty 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 instructed 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 larger pay, employees would proceed to depart the occupation, rising the stress on those that stay and finally damaging affected person care.

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

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

Ifeajuna says he has additionally typically thought-about quitting.

“However every time I’ve had the possibility, I kind 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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