Nurses strike in UK to escalate further: 48-hour strike planned

In a desperate attempt to get the government to the negotiating table, more than 120 NHS unions will go on a 48-hour continuous strike starting 1 March 2023.

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Escalating the strikes seems to be the last option facing NHS nurses in UK where earlier strikes have failed to make an impact. More than 120 NHS unions will see more strike action in this dispute over pay and staffing. Accusing the government of refusing to engage in negotiations, it said it will increase financial support for its workers by taking industrial action.

The nurses are demanding a pay rise of 5 per cent above inflation to cover the crisis of cost of living. It is a dire situation for the nurses, many of whom are dependent on food banks. Nurses were given a pay rise averaging between four and five per cent for the current fiscal year. Inflation in Britain has been in double digits for months and was recorded at 10.1 per cent in January.

The previous strikes by nurses in December affected 44 NHS trusts and expanded in January to 55 trusts and this month it covered 73 NHS trusts. These strikes took place only in day shifts for 12 hours each time but, as stated by the RCN, this strike will run continuously for 48-hours from Wednesday, 1 March to Friday, 3 March, 2023. For the first time, the Royal College of Nursing is involving the staff of emergency departments, critical care and cancer care. Other services which were previously exempted will also be joining in.

It is a tough time ahead for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak as his party has been grappling with strikes by nurses, postal department workers, rail workers and workers from other essential services, in the past months.

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