UK nurses will strike twice in January | Daily News Byte


England’s hospital woes look set to continue with nurses announcing a second set of strikes after previous walk-outs failed to produce a new pay deal.

Around a quarter of nurses at England’s public hospital trusts say they will strike for 12 hours on January 18 and 19 if the government does not offer higher pay.

Nurses across the country restricted their activity on a two-day strike in December, resulting in the cancellation of thousands of appointments.

The Royal College of Nurses has previously warned that further industrial action could be more severe, resulting in more disruption as staff perform fewer duties.

The announcement will put pressure on government ministers who have so far refused to offer increased pay to nurses and other healthcare workers who have gone on strike in recent days.

Ambulance workers also engaged in industrial action last week – and some are due to strike again on January 11 and 23.

Many National Health Service workers are unhappy with pay deals which have seen average pay rise by 4% this year. With inflation reaching 10.7% in November, many unions see this as a real-term pay cut, and many have called for higher increases.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak argued that the hike would increase inflation.

Health Secretary Steve Barclay Tweeted His “door was always open” to discussions with unions about “working conditions” earlier this week.

But he added that the government would continue to “suspend” the independent NHS review body, which had previously recommended this year’s pay rise. Inflation was at a low rate at that time.

He wrote: “We have an independent pay review body – which the unions campaigned to establish – and we will continue to defer to that process to ensure decisions balance the needs of staff and the wider economy.”

Announcing the new strike dates, RCN general secretary and chief executive Pat Cullen said: “The Government had the opportunity to end this dispute before Christmas but instead they have chosen to throw nursing staff back out in the cold in January.

“I don’t want to prolong this controversy, but the Prime Minister has left us with no choice.”

Union leaders, including Cullen, have also argued that workers need better pay to attract more workers to the industry.

She added: “The public support has been heartwarming and I am more convinced than ever that this is the right thing for patients and the future of the NHS.

“Nursing’s voice will not be ignored. Staff shortages and low pay make patient care unsafe – the sooner ministers come to the negotiating table, the sooner this can be resolved. If they don’t dig, I won’t dig.”

Meanwhile, ambulance workers have called off a strike planned for Wednesday, with union leaders saying public support for the cause was at an “amazing” level.

Rachel Harrison, national secretary of the GMB union, said: “The Government can now do what ambulance workers and the public want – have a round table and talk about pay now. We are here 24/7. Any time, any place. “


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