Thousands of nurses have walked out of hospitals across the United Kingdom on Thursday. Moreover, this is the largest strike of its kind across the country. Several years of reduced wages and eroding standards have put the UK healthcare system in crisis.

Wave of strikes across UK

Nurses has joined the list of various departments to go on strike and has added to the industrial unrest across the country. Previously, ambulance and postal workers, bus drivers and airport baggage handlers have all started strikes during November. Significantly, nurses are demanding better pay amid a cost-of-living crisis. However, the nurses in Scotland have decided not to become part of this strike. Yet, this strike action is one of the largest since establishment of National Health Service (NHS) in 1948. The Royal College of Nursing are demanding a 19% increase in wages. Whereas, the government is claiming that they cannot afford to give pay raise at this point of time. Hence, their negotiations collapsed earlier this week.

RCN stance

“We need to stand up for our health service, we need to find a way of addressing those over seven million people that are sitting on waiting lists, and how are we going to do that? By making sure we have got the nurses to look after our patients, not with 50,000 vacant posts, and with it increasing day by day.” RCN general secretary Pat Cullen said in a statement. Moreover, she added that the government must do the needful to get this resolved by the year end.

Strike will commence from next week

Royal College of Nursing is the largest nursing union across the United Kingdom and have more than 100,000 members. They are taking strike action in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Moreover, this is the largest strike in the 106 years’ history of Royal College of London. The strike will go on two days which are coming Tuesday and Thursday. However, Emergency hospital care will continue as normal Similarly, RCN also said that nurses will still staff chemotherapy and neonatal and pediatric intensive care units.

There is a longstanding dispute over the pays of NHS staff. The wages of nurses dropped 1.2% every year between 2010 and 2017. However, the nurses have finally decided to proceed with the strike action. They are demanding a wage raise of 19% but TCN has indicated to accept a lower offer.

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