United Kingdom | New strikes are being carried out due to lower wages in the health system

So much so that he was crippled this week by a 48-hour strike by medical workers and residents, demanding better pay and working conditions. It is not the first measure of force in overwhelmed public hospitals and with thousands of shifts already delayed due to the consequences of the conflicts.

Assessing whether the strike had taken place, Nick Hulme, chief executive of Ipswich and Colchester hospitals, confirmed that those protesting were at least half the doctors in the British system. It thus affects about two-thirds of the population, in a country of over 63 million people.

“This government is failing us and failing patients,” said Vishal Sharma, president of the British Medical Association (BMA). “We are undervalued and overworked,” he said. Perhaps his assessments were not so new to many residents of a large part of the world, particularly in Latin American countries, which also suffer from state policies that bombard public medicine at the expense of private activity, which is increasingly being prioritized and supported. Just in the past decade, total healthcare spending in the UK, which reached £127 billion in 2012, has fallen by more than 20%. Along these lines, health professionals have suffered a cut of more than 25% in their salaries since 2008.

One of the ways the British health system has been broken in recent years has been the incorporation of staff from abroad, always with very low salaries and very poor working conditions. Until the end of 2022, a scandal erupted when several of them claimed they were being exploited, denouncing this overload of work they feared endangering the patients’ health. In this sense, an investigation conducted by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) discovered that a famous private company had hired Nigerian doctors to work in its hospitals, in conditions not permitted by public health, especially in the suburban cities of London. For example, an African-American worker, from Leeds, made a lot of noise when he said, “I was at work in a hospital but it felt like I was in a prison.”

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These strikes involving British society are understood as part of a new wave of protests and mobilization that is also affecting many other unions, among them train drivers and airport employees, as well as workers in the country’s railway network, who make transportation difficult (if not paralyzed) and who have announced drastic measures to demand that their salaries exceed the record inflation rate of 8.7%.

(Source: Argentina Time)

Sacha Woodward

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