“It was strike action that brought the government to the negotiating table and it was strike action that resulted in a higher pay offer for NHS staff despite the government saying there was no money.”
By Holly Turner, NHS Workers Say NO!
This week we have seen Junior Doctors, Consultants and Radiographers take coordinated strike action as the row over pay restoration for NHS Staff intensifies. The Government have refused to enter negotiations which is grossly irresponsible and insult to both staff and patients.
In June 102,000 Royal College of Nursing (RCN) members voted for Nurses Strike Action to continue, but the turnout sadly fell short of the arbitrary threshold imposed by anti-trade unions laws. These numbers show strength of feeling and underlined the fact that the fight for pay is certainly not over.
It was strike action that brought the government to the negotiating table and it was strike action that resulted in a higher pay offer for NHS staff despite the government saying there was no money. However, the long-term issues of recruitment and retention, patient safety and poverty pay in the NHS haven’t gone away and NHS Workers Say No believe that we must fight on for more if we want to bring the NHS back to safety and preserve it for future generations.
The facts around why we must fight on are clear-
- Our pay has been eroded over time; it is now a 29% pay cut in real terms
- Poor pay leads to short staffing. Only 25% of shifts are staffed with the correct amount of staff. Short-staffing puts increased pressure on staff’s wellbeing
- There is a direct link between patient safety and the shortage of nurses and NHS staff.
- The fight for pay is a fight for the NHS itself. If we don’t address the staff shortages and look after the staff left in the NHS there will be no NHS left
The Labour Party created the NHS in 1948 to be there for everyone, rich and poor, in times of need, free at the point of use. In 2012, the NHS was the best healthcare system in the world. Today the NHS is suffering because of year on year of cuts to services, pay, and rampant privatisation. If we want a health service which remains free at the point of use and fit for the future, the Labour Party must commit to investing in staff. We have 140,000 vacancies and we cannot afford to lose any more skilled and experienced staff.
NHS Workers Say No Demand:
- Full Pay Restoration for all staff, fully funded by the government
- An immediate end to outsourcing
- All outsourced staff to be brought back in house
- An end to institutional racism in the NHS and equal protections for immigrant colleagues
- Holly Turner is the founder of NHS Workers Say No and a mental health nurse. You can follow her on Twitter here; and NHS Workers Say No on Facebook, Instagram and twitter.
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