Nurses urged to strike after Sunak offered them nothing. But how can they?

Undervalued, underpaid, overstressed: nurses need a fair deal but they won’t get it unless they strike. How can they do that without harming patients?

It’s the classic dilemma for nurses: how can they campaign for fair pay and conditions when striking may harm NHS patients?

Tory Chancellor Rishi Sunak spat in the faces of nurses across the UK in his Budget speech yesterday (March 3), which did not even mention the National Health Service.

It was a deliberate insult to the healthcare workers who have suffered and sacrificed – some losing their lives – in the face of government failure to provide even the most basic protective equipment when it was needed.

It seems Tories think applause is all that nurses deserve. Meanwhile they are working overtime or using credit to be able to pay essential bills, and using food banks to be able to eat.

They have lost both their mental and physical health, struggling to come to terms with the horrors they have witnessed while trying to cope with Covid-19, underfunded, understaffed and underequipped by the Tories.

This is a national scandal.

Campaigning organisation Nurses United UK says health staff need to think seriously about strike action. Health unions have been demanding an immediate – restorative – pay rise of between 12.5 and 15 per cent.

That’s just to bring pay back up to the level that nurses have lost in the 11 years since the Tories took office.

The Tories, it seems, consider this demand to be “one for the fairies“.

But then, as Nurses United lead organiser Anthony Johnson pointed out – it must be better than giving billions to Tory donors in return for nothing at all:

This Government is weak – that is why they u-turn so often. They know that people are watching and demanding that rather than giving billions to their donors, they invest in the people of this country.

But we come back to the crux of the matter: if nurses strike, they won’t harm the Tory government – they’ll harm sick people who don’t deserve worse treatment.

Perhaps targeted strike action – to ruin Tory press junkets in hospitals or withdraw coverage for Tory projects – is the answer?

Source: Pay campaigner asks nurses to ‘seriously consider industrial action’ | NursingNotes

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4 thoughts on “Nurses urged to strike after Sunak offered them nothing. But how can they?

  1. Jeffrey Davies

    Tucked up again by a Tory government but the unions has such allowed their very highly trained Hcp off the hook has of their conduct working for contractors only holding out for their yearly dues it seems the rest who are Angels who do a very good job get the crap of their contour parts

  2. Zippi

    As much as I’d love to give the N.H.S. staff a pay rise, who is going to pay for it? Most people have been taking from the Exchequer, rather than paying in. Many people have not been able to work and around 3 million of those have had no help, at all and will continue to get no help. My mother and sister are both nurses and I am reminded that nobody did more for nurses, in terms of pay, than Margaret Thatcher but if I had to choose, in the interests of fairness, I’d rather help those who have had nothing for nearly a year.
    As hard as their job has been, those who work in the N.H.S. have, at least, had work but it is not the kind of work that generates income, it requires us to pay for it. Can we afford larger pay rises at this moment in time? I rather think that the pay structures need reform and indeed, the whole N.H.S., which has been screwed over by successive governments, for the last 50, or so years, particularly the Blair years. I ask, again, is now the right time and can we afford it, right now? If we can, of course wee should but first, we should help those who have had nothing and that begs the question, is the Chancellor’s economic strategy fundamentally flawed?

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      You do understand, don’t you, that tax money doesn’t pay for anything?

      It’s just cash that’s taken out of the economy by the government in order (1) to validate the UK pound as a currency and (2) to keep inflation down.

      All the money the government pays into the economy is created by the government (or might as well be; tax cash can be recycled into it, of course).

      So the answer to your first question is simply that an NHS pay rise would be funded by the government – the same as any other public service pay rise is.

      The answer to your second question is yes, we can afford larger pay rises; we always could.

      The answer to your third question is yes. If not now, when?

      And the answer to your last question is: Yes. The Chancellor’s economic strategy is fatally flawed, as I think we’ll discover soon.

Comments are closed.