The biggest day of strike action in the history of the NHS is taking place today (6 February) in a row over pay.
Nursing and ambulance staff in England are also striking tomorrow (7 February) “to secure a future with safe patient care and fair pay”, according to the Royal College of Nursing which is staging the action.
According to the union, Rishi Sunak is refusing to formally negotiate pay that would stop the strikes from taking place. Its general secretary and chief executive Pat Cullen urged him to rethink this approach.
In a letter to the Prime Minister, she wrote: “Your government looks increasingly isolated in refusing to reopen discussions about the 2022-23 NHS pay award. As a result, the strike action for England remains – with tens of thousands of nurses losing wages to ensure you hear their voice. It must not be in vain.
“It will be the biggest day of industrial action in the 75-year history of the NHS. Nursing staff find that a sobering realisation of how far they have been pushed to protect patient care and secure some respect for the nursing profession.”
Cullen explained that she wanted Sunak to show the government was “on the side of the hardworking, decent taxpayer”.
She added: “There could be no simpler way to demonstrate this commitment than bringing the nurse strike to a swift close.”
Elsewhere in the UK, strikes in Wales were called off on Friday (3 February) after the Welsh government proposed an extra 3% pay rise this financial year for NHS workers. In Scotland, talks about additional funding continue and there are currently no strikes planned.