UK Nurses To Go On Strike For First Time In History
CWU Members Working For Royal Mail Stike Over Pay And Conditions
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UK Nurses To Go On Strike For First Time In History

Manon Lamy November 14, 2022

Amid the rising costs of living, NHS nurses have become reliant on food banks to feed themselves and their families. However, nurses in hospitals and trusts have said ‘enough is enough’. Nurses across the country have voted to go on strike to demand better pay. The Royal College of Nurses have said that nurses across the country have voted to take industrial action for the first time in the RCN’s 106-year history.

Before the end of the year nurses will go on strike over pay.

What is the Royal College of Nurses asking for?

As costs of living rise, many are finding it increasingly hard to feed themselves and their families; especially those in low-paid jobs. The NHS nurses are part of that category. NHS nurses who have given so much in the last two years are now requesting a pay rise to help with the rising cost of living.

Today the RCN are requesting a rise of 5% above the RPI inflation rate which currently stands at just over 12%. This would mean a 17% pay boost to all nurses but would exclude doctors and dentists. The RCN has argued that nurses’ average salaries have dropped by 6% between 2011 and 2021, once inflation is taken into account. These demands would cost the government over £9 billion.

While many nurses have received a pay award for their service in the last two years, those in Northern Ireland have not received anything because there is no working government.

The government has said that the demands are ‘incredibly high’. Furthermore, the wider economic context should be taken into account.

Photo by SJ Objio on Unsplash

How will nurses going on strike impact the health service?

There is widespread fear that nurses walking out will increase the pressure the NHS services already face. Indeed, services which have voted to strike will be scaled back. However, the NHS has assured that emergency services like A&E and ambulances will remain fully staffed.

Planned operations, outpatient appointments as well as kidney dialysis are likely to be rescheduled. Some appointments will be impacted by the nursing strikes. Hospitals around the country are already facing long waiting lists. Nearly 3 million people could be impacted by the strikes.

Matthew Taylor, Chief Executive of the NHS Confederation said that “NHS leaders will do all they can to mitigate against the effects of any planned industrial action on their services and patients and will ensure that critical, emergency and urgent services are kept running as a minimum.”

Nurses understand the impact of their decisions but for many it’s a decision that could make a difference in these hard times.

Mounting action in the public sectors

Unfortunately, nurses are not the only ones who find themselves at the centre of industrial action. For weeks, rail workers have been staging regular strikes. Royal Mail workers have also been going on strikes. Just recently the University and Colleges union have also announced that they will organise industrial action.

Their reason: because of pay.

And these public sectors workers are not alone in talking of industrial action. The Public and Commercial Services union will soon announce if civil servants will be joining the growing wave of public discontent.

All these strikes and industrial actions come with the living crisis that the UK is currently facing.

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Manon is a freelance journalist for Freshered. She joined Freshered in February 2022 where she is still working today. As a freelance journalist she enjoys covering everything from international politics to Formula 1 and travelling. Manon is currently in her final year of Politics and International Relations at the University of Nottingham after returning from a year abroad in Vienna, Austria. She hopes to continue her studies in Journalism.