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Oliver Dowden stands firm as nurses threaten more strikes

Oliver Dowden stands firm as nurses threaten more strikes

Oliver Dowden stands firm as nurses threaten more strikes

Oliver Dowden stands firm as nurses threaten more strikes

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  • RCN are scheduled to go on strike on December 20.
  • The RCN wants a 19% pay raise, but $1,400 is a ‘starting point’
  • “We have been hoodwinked into lending credence to this process”.
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After nursing unions vowed to intensify their strike action if ministers do not start negotiations within 48 hours of Tuesday’s walkout, the government reaffirmed its “resolute” stance on pay.

On December 20, members of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) are scheduled to go on strike once more.

Minister in the Cabinet Oliver Dowden stated that ministers were “reasonable” but had a responsibility to manage money.

He stressed that the NHS pay review body should decide on nurses’ remuneration.

This organization suggested a £1,400 increase in July, with slightly higher increases for experienced nurses – an average increase of 4%.

The RCN is requesting a wage increase of 19%, but union leader Pat Cullen said this was just a “beginning point” and that members would be consulted before any new offer was made.

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Urging the unions to call off the strike, Mr. Dowden told the Media: “We will be resolute to this, because it would be irresponsible to allow public sector pay and inflation to get out of control and we owe a wider duty to the public to make sure we keep our public finances under control.”

Challenged about the government’s reluctance to engage on pay, the cabinet minister in charge of contingency planning for strikes, said the government was “always willing talk”.

“We’re trying to be reasonable, we’re trying to be proportionate and we’re trying to be fair,” he said.

He added that the government was trying to “take the politics out” of the issue of pay by accepting the NHS review body’s recommendations.

But Ms. Cullen says ministers are using the recommendations as “cover” and her union was “seriously looking at whether we take part anymore”.

“We have been hoodwinked into lending credence to this process for years and if we aren’t being listened to then it cannot be independent,” she added.

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A small number of Conservative MPs have called on the government to revisit its offer to nurses. The latest to do so, former minister Caroline Nokes, called for the government to take “another look at the negotiations”.

Former cabinet minister Robert Buckland and other Tories have also suggested that the pay review board be asked to submit new recommendations.

In spite of criticism from the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) think tank, which provided a figure of half of this amount, Mr. Dowden reaffirmed the government’s claim that inflation-matching pay rises across the public sector would cost an additional £28 billion. He insisted that this figure was “robust.”

The Welsh government, which is controlled by the Labor party and is in charge of the NHS in Wales, has also decided to follow the recommendations of the pay review.

First Minister Mark Drakeford claimed on Sunday that the UK government had not provided it a sufficient money to cover a bigger increase and that supporting a boost from its current budget would result in fewer people receiving treatment.

The power-sharing administration in Northern Ireland would typically negotiate pay but is on hold as a result of a deadlock over post-Brexit regulations.

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In an effort to prevent strikes, the Scottish government has given salary increases to NHS employees of 7.5% on average.

Unite and Unison, two significant NHS unions that represent paramedics, midwives, nurses, and support personnel, have both approved of it. However, the GMB, another organization, rejected it.

A vote among RCN members in Scotland will end on Monday. When the results will be made public is unclear.

The largest RCN strike in history occurred on Thursday. Around 9,999 employees were missing in England, and close to 16,000 appointments, treatments, and surgeries had to be postponed.

It involved all trusts in Northern Ireland, all but one health board in Wales, and about a fourth of hospitals and community teams in England.

According to Ms. Cullen, an escalation would result in more hospitals being involved and less funding being provided for non-emergency care.

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The RCN has stated that it will continue to staff critical care units, neonatal and pediatric intensive care, dialysis, chemotherapy, and emergency cancer treatment throughout the current action.

Services related to learning disabilities, autism, and certain aspects of mental health are also excluded.

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