UK calls on the army to deal with healthcare strikes

This Wednesday, the British federation GMB announced that more than 1It will strike 0,000 ambulance workers Before Christmas in England and Wales, in its first action in thirty years. Rachel Harrison, the organisation’s national secretary, said staff were “exhausted, frustrated and downtrodden” after having “suffered 12 years of cuts and their salary packages by the governors.” And despite the fact that they, along with other members of the health sector, “fought on the front lines against a global pandemic,” they sadly “now face the worst cost-of-living crisis in a generation.” The last ambulance drivers’ strike took place from September 1989 to February 1990.

The announcement came after Unison, the union representing hundreds of thousands of health care workers, including ambulance crews, porters, cleaners and paramedics, reported Tuesday night that 80,000 of its members support the strikes. If you add the approximately 100,000 nurses who, according to the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) would stop working during the December strike days, there would be a total of approximately 200,000 people who would fight in this measure for a pay raise i.e. in line with inflation.

“The decision to take action and lose a day’s wages is always a difficult one” and “presents a particular challenge for those whose jobs involve caring for and saving lives,” said Christina Macania, Secretary-General of Unison, adding that “thousands of ambulance workers and their colleagues in the NHS (the system) NHS) that the delay will not recede, Wait times will not be reduceduntil the government takes action on wages.

The strikes threaten to exacerbate a waiting list of more than seven million people Thousands of surgeries canceled and endangering essential services, such as chemotherapy for cancer patients. But for now, they see no other option in the sector, because the negotiating table is open only in Scotland.

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Given this scenario, the health services and the Ministry of Defense are assessing what measures can be taken so that members of the armed forces can counter the strikes, either by driving ambulances or working on the front lines in hospitals. According to The Times, officials are already making contingency plans for the government to recall Protocol on Military Aid to Civilian Authoritiess, to keep the health system functioning if strikes eventually lead to general paralysis, especially in a particularly sensitive month for hospital care.

The regulations state, “The military can only be called upon when it is a civilian authority Lacks the ability to get the job done», as during the worst months of the Covid-19 pandemic and in the ambulance drivers’ strike of 1989, when the Army, Navy and Air Force ferried out patients who needed medical attention.

Physiotherapists and midwives are also considering whether to join the strikes, and doctors will vote on this early next year.

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