May 21, 2024

Collective bargaining dispute in England: Residents go on strike for four days

Status: 11/04/2023 3:39 PM

The people of England went on strike for four days. Your union wants a 35 percent wage increase. The responsible minister spoke of an “unreasonable” demand.

It is said to be the longest strike in the history of the British health system: Physician assistants in the Public Health England system want to stop working for four days. According to the health service, up to 350,000 planned appointments and surgeries could be canceled during the strike.

Physician assistants claim an additional 35 percent salary. They also complain about the need to catch up and staff shortages due to the pandemic. This greatly increased her workload. “We’ve had massive (pay) cuts and we’re filling more gaps as people leave,” said resident doctor Katrina Forsyth outside St Thomas’ Hospital in London. She warned that the situation for patients had become “less safe”.

Only about 14 lbs an hour?

The British Medical Association (BMA) doctors’ association argues that newly qualified medical workers are paid just £14.09 an hour. The UK minimum wage is just under £10 an hour. According to the BMA, junior doctors have lost 26 percent of their salaries in real terms since 2008. The government has dismissed the demands as unpayable.

Health Secretary Steve Parley said he had hoped collective bargaining would officially begin in March, but called the wage demand “unreasonable”. For some doctors, this could increase their salary by £20,000 (roughly €23,000) a year. Parly said the union should change its position “significantly” and call off strikes “so that we can resume secret talks”.

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The National Health Service (NHS) is regulated by the state in Great Britain and, unlike the German health system, is tax-funded.

Strikes in many industries

Thousands of doctors across the UK went on strike for three days in March. In Great Britain, strikes have been going on in many sectors for months, and given high inflation and high energy prices, workers are mostly worried about strong wage increases. In addition to the health sector, the railways, post office and border police were also affected.

Last week, Barkley agreed with the healthcare unions to raise wages by 5 percent. Members are currently voting on this. However, the convention does not apply to junior doctors, who make up about half of all doctors in the National Health Service (NHS). The latest strike is only happening in England and does not affect the rest of the UK.