Latest nurses attack ‘disrespectful’ other health unions, minister says

Health Secretary Steve Barclay said on Sunday that the UK nurses’ strike action was “premature and disrespectful” to other unions as a dispute between the government and healthcare workers over money. wages and working conditions are on the rise.

The demonstration by members of the Royal College of Nursing began at 8pm on Sunday and will end at 11:59pm on May 1. It follows the union’s decision in April to refuse a government offer that includes a one-time payment and a 5% salary increase for the fiscal year 2023-24.

Barclay criticized the RCN’s decision to launch more strike action before the NHS staff council, which has representatives from 14 unions and oversees NHS pay, meets on Tuesday to consider what he said. the government’s “fair and reasonable” salary offer.

“This is an agreement that Pat Cullen herself proposed to her members that we reached after days of negotiations in a fair and reasonable resolution,” he said, noting that Other health unions such as GMB and the Royal College of Midwives have backed the government’s deal.

“The NHS staff council will meet to vote on whether they accept the deal we have negotiated with them. I think it is right to wait for the NHS Staff Council to make that decision. And I think this strike is premature and disrespects the unions that are meeting on Tuesday.”

The RCN’s latest action comes as other public sector unions are stepping up strike action after rejecting government deals to promote better working conditions and wages.

Pat Cullen, secretary general of the RCN

Pat Cullen, general secretary of the RCN © REUTERS

Teachers represented by the National Education Federation are leaving on 2 May, while all four of the UK’s major teaching associations – NEU, National Association of Principals, Association of School Leaders and Colleges and NASUWT – last week threatened coordinated strike action that could cost more than 300,000 teachers their tools.

Meanwhile, civil servants are represented by Potential union will launch on May 10 and June 7.

Health leaders and ministers have voiced concerns about the possible impact of the 28-hour strike action by nurses on patient safety. The strike will affect 125 NHS trusts and will include nurses working in intensive care units, cancer care and emergency departments for the first time.

Pat Cullen, the general secretary of the RCN, on Sunday insisted that the union would never let “patients be unsafe or create more risks”.

“There are national exemptions that apply to a wide range of services, to emergency departments, to intensive care units, to neonatal units, to pediatric intensive care units,” says Cullen. , those really urgent services.” sky news.

Transport Secretary Mark Harper has accused railway workers of striking against the Eurovision Song Contest

Transport Secretary Mark Harper has accused railway workers of attacking the Eurovision Song Contest © Getty Images

Despite the mitigating measures, Dame Ruth May, Chief Nursing Officer for England, warned that health service could be severely disrupted during the bank holiday.

“Industrial action will still have a very significant impact on services during a strike and patients may have to wait longer for care,” she said.

Meanwhile, the general secretary of the train drivers association, Aslef, on Sunday criticized the transport minister, after he accused railway workers of striking – who are due to leave on May 12, 31. May and June 3 – deliberately targeted the Eurovision Song Contest and other events.

Harper told Sky News: “Ukrainian railways have been specifically targeted by Vladimir Putin, hundreds of railway workers have been killed and I would have thought frankly that the railway workers would want to unite with them rather than aimed at the Eurovision Song Contest.

Secretary-General Aslef Mick Whelan described the minister’s comments as “ridiculous”, adding: “The only people responsible for the strikes are taking place in this country – in all areas. different sectors of the UK economy – government and employers.”

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