The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has announced new strike dates for February 6th and 7th, and the GMB union has announced that many of its paramedic staff will join them on the first of those two days.
Unite members across five ambulance trusts in England and Wales are also now set to go on strike on February 6th, as unions increase pressure on the government to address years of pay cuts and worsening patient safety.
The government has expressed disappointment but willingness to engage in pay talks with the unions. Unite general secretary Sharon Graham has criticized the government for demonizing ambulance workers and not taking action to protect the NHS.
Here at Solidarity, as our name suggests, we believe in the value of solidarity.
Showing solidarity with striking nurses is important for several reasons.
Firstly, nurses, like other healthcare workers, are on the frontlines of the healthcare system and are essential in providing care and treatment to patients.
They have been working tirelessly throughout the pandemic, often putting their own health at risk, and deserve fair pay for the work that they do. Secondly, the fight for fair pay for nurses is not just about them, but about ensuring that the healthcare system as a whole is properly funded and can provide the best possible care for patients.
When nurses and other healthcare workers are underpaid and overworked, it can lead to burnout and a lack of staff, which can negatively impact patient care.
Furthermore, the struggle for fair pay for nurses is connected to the broader struggle for workers’ rights and a fair economy.
The government’s refusal to provide fair pay for nurses is part of a larger agenda of austerity and cutting public services.
By showing solidarity with striking nurses, other workers are standing up for the right to fair pay and against the erosion of workers’ rights and the public sector.
Finally, showing solidarity with striking nurses can help to build a stronger and more united workers’ movement. When workers from different sectors and industries come together to support each other, it makes it harder for the government and employers to divide and conquer. By standing in solidarity with striking nurses, other workers are sending a message that they will not be divided and will fight together for fair pay and better working conditions for all.
There are two things you can do right now:
- Join a picket line if you can and show you care about the NHS and fair pay for staff.
- Donate to the RCN Strike Fund
The RCN has launched a donation page for members of the public to contribute to our strike fund after people have got in touch to ask how they can help support strikes in a practical way.
During strikes, nursing staff forfeit a day’s wage for each day of action they take part in. To protect them from the financial impact of this fight for patient safety, they can receive £50 for each day they strike through the RCN strike fund.
Members of the public can now show their support for nursing strike action by donating to the fund.
Pat Cullen of the RCN said: “We’re all paying the price for the UK government’s failure to pay nursing staff fairly. The NHS is in crisis and nursing staff have been forced to strike to protect our profession and our patients.
“More than a decade of real-terms pay cuts have put the nursing profession and safe patient care at risk. Shifts are understaffed, tens of thousands of posts are vacant and nursing staff are struggling to keep afloat.
“Governments think if they ignore nursing staff for long enough our members will be forced to give in. But we know something they don’t. We know that the public is with us, shoulder to shoulder with nursing staff.”