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nurses go on strike for the first time in a century – RT in French

British nurses will go on strike on December 15 and 20, an unprecedented movement in 106 years. But social movements are affecting many other sectors that haven’t seen one in decades.

The Royal College of Nurses (RCN), union of nurses, announced on November 25 two days of strike on December 15 and 20 after “the rejection of negotiations by the government”. “The nurses have had enough,” said Pat Cullen, the union’s general secretary. “Enough of the low wages, […] enough not to be able to give patients the care they deserve, ”she added to defend this unprecedented social movement for 106 years.

According to estimates, the real salary of nurses has fallen by 20% since 2010, in particular due to the current crisis in the cost of living, with inflation exceeding 11%. The annual salary of a junior nurse is 27,000 gross pounds (31,400 euros).

But Health Minister Steve Barclay quoted by AFP replied that it was “a difficult time for everyone” and that the government could not meet the “unaffordable” demands of the RCN, which he said represented an increase salary of 19.2%, or an additional 10 billion pounds per year.

One in four hospitals reportedly set up food banks to support staff

On the BBC, Pat Cullen disputed these figures and said: “Our economists have worked hard on our numbers. If Mr. Barclay […] wants to stop beating around the bush and wants to chat, he can avoid these strikes. My door is wide open, night and day. To which Minister Barclay replied with a tweet that he too “kept [sa] open door to the RCN if they want to discuss”.

One in four hospitals have set up food banks to support staff, according to NHS Providers, which represents hospital groups in England. “We are exhausted. We are fed up. We need a raise to live,” Ameera, a nurse at a London hospital who voted to strike, told AFP.

“I think we have to accept the fact that a two-day strike is not really the problem. The problem is years and years of underfunding,” said Sky News Patricia Marquis, head of RCN in England.

The public health system (NHS), underfunded for years, is in a serious crisis. The government has announced an increase in the NHS budget of 3.3 billion pounds in 2023 and 2024. According to the RCN, in England, 47,000 nursing positions are unfilled. Last year, 25,000 nurses or midwives who worked in the public slammed the door. And more than seven million people are waiting for treatment in English hospitals, a record high.

Movements among lawyers, postal workers, teachers

But the social movement does not only hit the health sector. Many other employees in the public and private sectors, from lawyers to transport, have also gone on strike this year. In Scotland, teachers went on strike on the 24th to demand raises. University employees also stopped working on the 24th and 25th.

Postal workers have extended their strike until 2023, which could affect the delivery of mail and parcels during the holiday season.

“The last major strikes date back to the 1970s and 1980s, but they mainly affected the private sector and industry. There, it is especially the public sector, ”reminds AFP Pippa Catterall, professor of history at the University of Westminster, herself a striker.

“People have been under pressure for a long time. It’s not just salaries, but also the workload,” she continues, explaining that with record inflation, “people are increasingly irritated by the cosmetic measures announced by employers and the government”.

RT All Fr Trans

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