May 21, 2024

UK: Unprecedented health strikes end

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An unprecedented wave of strikes has ended in the UK health system

National Health Service (NHS) workers rally for more pay.  Now there is an agreement

National Health Service (NHS) workers rally for more pay. Now there is an agreement

Credit: AFP/SUSANNAH IRELAND

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Staff at the British health service NHS have returned to work as usual after a deal with the government. At least part of the temporarily paralyzed public life can resume. Elsewhere there is no progress.

NAfter an unprecedented wave of strikes in the British health service NHS, the government has reached an agreement with unions in a collective bargaining dispute. More than a million workers in England will receive a significant pay rise, the government announced in London on Thursday.

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The deal provides for a minimum payment of £1,250 (€1,425) for the current payment year and a minimum increase of 5 per cent from April. Major unions urged their members to accept the deal. Planned strikes have been suspended.

As recently as Wednesday, tens of thousands of public sector workers, including many paramedics, demonstrated in London for higher pay. Millions of people marched across the country. Health Secretary Steve Barclay welcomed the offer to residents on Thursday along with other professionals.

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The Conservative government has long refused to pay NHS workers more, saying it would only fuel higher inflation. Now she talked about a reasonable solution. “It is only right that we reward our hard-working NHS staff for their courage and commitment during the pandemic (…),” Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said. The deal is affordable for taxpayers.

Just before Christmas, nurses’ union the RCN called on its members to strike for the first time in its history. Rescue workers were also involved in the protest. Labor disputes in various sectors have paralyzed the country for months. For example, all the employees in the railways and all the companies are still not redressed.

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