In the UK, male nurses of Britain’s chronically underfunded NHS health service will go on strike in December. They demand, among other things, better pay. The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) professional association has called strikes for December 15 and 20 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland on Friday.
The strike call – on a scale unprecedented in the past 106 years – shows the depth of social malaise in the UK, which in recent months has seen strikes in many sectors unlike anything we have seen in decades.
“Nurses are tired of being exploited, underpaid and insecure – and tired of not being able to give patients the care they deserve,” said RCN General Secretary Pat Cullen. The trade union accuses politicians of not wanting to negotiate seriously. Negotiations were agreed upon only in Scotland.
Nurses are calling for a five percent wage increase over the rate of inflation, which is currently over eleven percent. However, according to British Health Secretary Steve Barclay, the government’s current difficult financial situation made it impossible to fund this.
In England, waiting lists for routine procedures reached a record high at the end of September. The situation also deteriorated further in the emergency departments. October figures show that less than 70 per cent of patients are being treated within four hours of admission – the worst number since records began.
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