Against a backdrop of record inflation and declining purchasing power, the United Kingdom is experiencing an unprecedented social movement. Thursday, December 15, British nurses went on strike to demand increases in the face of soaring prices and the crisis in the public health system.
Nearly 100,000 of them took part in this strike, the first in the hundred and six year history of their union, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), reflecting the extent of discontent across the Channel. The movement, which must be renewed on December 20, concerns England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
It comes at a time of rare social tension as the holidays approach. From railway workers to border police, many professional categories will be on strike at the end of the year, upsetting the plans of some Britons. The approximately 115,000 employees of the Royal Mail (the post office, privatized in the early 2010s) were privatized on Wednesday and Thursday, in the midst of many gift orders.
Less 20% purchasing power since 2010
The Conservative government, struggling in the polls, is implacable, promising to legislate to reduce the power of the unions and refusing to get involved in the negotiations. But the movement of caregivers is a challenge because the sympathy of the opinion is great for the employees of the free public health system (NHS), long national pride and washed out by ten years of austerity then the pandemic.
The nurses are asking for a salary increase of just over 19% to make up for years of scarcity which have resulted, for the RCN, in a drop in their purchasing power of 20% since 2010 and the arrival of the Conservatives in power. A judged request “unaffordable” by the government.
” We are with you “title on Thursday of the left-wing daily The Daily Mirrorechoing a majority British population in favor of the walkout of nurses according to the polls. “Their fight is our fight”launches the British tabloid in a tweet.
Their fight is our fight Nurses today begin their first strike with the majority of the public backing them Staff… https://t.co/4n6drMxtzR
70,000 medical appointments lost
Health Secretary and former nurse Maria Caulfield announced on Sky News on Thursday that some 70,000 medical appointments and surgeries would be lost in England due to the strike.
“I woke up this morning with a broken heart as a nurse”told the Press Association (PA) agency the general secretary of RCN, Pat Cullen, considering that it was “tragic to have had to lead the profession on strike so that our voices are heard”.
In a UK in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis, with double-digit inflation, nurses’ representatives say their members are skipping meals, struggling to feed and clothe their families and ending up leaving the workplace en masse. NHS. “The workload is horrible. The nurses are burnt out, they cannot provide safe service to patients”, recently explained to Agence France-Presse Mark Boothroyd, an emergency nurse at Saint-Thomas Hospital in London. According to him, many newcomers to the profession leave it because of low salaries, putting those who remain under intense pressure.