It looks like a massive pay demand but it isn’t.
The 17 per cent pay increase the Royal College of Nursing wants is in fact less than the amount of pay that nurses have lost in the more-than-12 years of Tory rule.
Health Secretary Steve Barclay says he is listening – but it is clear that he hasn’t paid enough attention because if he had offered anything acceptable so far, nurses would not have voted for this strike.
Emergency care will not be affected by the strikes, but the NHS is expecting to face its toughest-ever winter after more than a decade of Tory cuts and privatisation and right-wingers are lining up to blame striking nurses for any harm caused.
But isn’t the lack of adequate pay already causing significant harm, with almost 47,000 nursing jobs vacant and more nurses quitting every day?
Here’s a news report summing up the situation:
Barclay has said the pay demand is “not sustainable”. Is that because the Tories have drained the NHS of cash and handed over the profitable parts of it to private companies and their shareholders?
Here he is:
Let’s have another Tory – Education Secretary Gillian Keegan, who was tackled by Sky‘s Kay Burley on the reasons nurses are being forced to use food banks. Her comment was, frankly, damned insulting and here’s Maximilien Robespierre to explain it:
Did you pick up the excellent point that nurses across the UK are having to pay to park at their place of work? Gillian Keegan doesn’t have to pay for parking at hers.
How about the point that Tories are talking about making sure patients stay alive – but they are also making sure bankers get their bonuses. It’s a contradiction of priorities.
They talk about the independent pay review board, but never mention the fact that they have cut pay by more than the nurses are demanding.
Let’s have a few words from Pat Cullen, General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing:
Finally, let’s have a perspective from a nurse on the front line of NHS care; she says she’s “burnt out” and felt undervalued by the government – and a bit more from Ms Cullen:
It seems clear that the Tory government has made a huge mess of our healthcare.
It’s all very well to say that nurses’ pay demand it “out of step with economic circumstances”, but when it’s the Tories who cut their pay and created most of the conditions causing the current cost-of-living crisis and the forthcoming recession, those words ring hollow.
And it seems clear that the toffs aren’t interested in giving up ground. Why should they when they can afford to go private for their own care?
A spokesperson has already admitted they could not say whether prime minister Rishi Sunak has already done so, in order to avoid NHS waiting lists.
This could get very messy, very quickly.
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