The United Kingdom lives its largest health strike under the demand for living wages

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Tens of thousands of nurses and ambulance personnel carried out a joint strike over the pay dispute they have been holding for weeks against rising inflation, setting up the largest protest in the 75-year history of the National Health Service (NHS). Further demonstrations will take place during the week, increasing the pressure on the Rishi Sunak government. Meanwhile, the intervention of the prime minister in the negotiations has not yet been stipulated.

The pressure on the British health system is at its highest moment after the most important strike that the United Kingdom state National Health Service (NHS) has ever experienced was launched on Monday, February 6 .

Tens of thousands of nurses and ambulance service staff from across the country, but mostly from England, went on strike to demand a substantial pay rise after their earnings fell far behind the island’s rising inflation. , the highest in four decades and which reached double digits.

Both groups have held separate protests with this claim since the end of 2022, but the joint strike is the hardest blow to the stability of the NHS health system in 75 years.

This happens after the Executive reiterated that salary growth is unaffordable and would generate a chain of increases, among other negative economic impacts.

“The government needs to listen and talk about wages rather than just saying the NHS has no money,” said a protester outside St Thomas’ Hospital in the heart of London.


Stephen Powis, medical director of the NHS, anticipated that this will probably be the most disrupted week in the system after more strikes were confirmed for the next few days. The nurses will march again on Tuesday, the physiotherapists will march on Thursday and on Friday it will be the turn of the ambulance personnel.

The situation of the state health apparatus is delicate. It currently has millions of patients on waiting lists for operations and thousands more have not had immediate emergency care for months.

The minister of mental health and women’s health strategy, Maria Caulfield, defended the reluctance to an increase, alleging that each percentage takes money away from the service and said in dialogue with the ‘Sky News’ chain that they are spending “one of the most winters busy, with record levels of funding going to the NHS to try to run services.

Half a million workers, most of them in the public sphere, went on strike throughout the summer. In that period, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak tried to limit the interruption of services, with projects to force a minimum provision. All this while also facing strong protests from railway workers and teachers.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) union urged the prime minister to end the strike “quickly” by offering better conditions, but found no positive responses.

In fact, a spokesman stated on Monday that Sunak does not plan to get involved in the negotiations. “We want to continue discussing how we can find a way forward with the unions,” the spokesperson said.

The RCN, which pointed out that low wages contributed to a progressive absence of nurses in the last decade, called for a 5% increase above inflation, but failed to reach an agreement despite weeks of talks.

In Wales, strikes were also planned, but they were lifted after an offer from the Welsh government that will be studied.

with Reuters

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Written by Editor TLN

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