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Is Scotland’s strike momentum slowing?

by Ozva Admin
Is Scotland’s strike momentum slowing?

Finally some good news on the strike front: NHS staff in Scotland decided not to stand down after voting to accept an improved pay offer from the Scottish government. The deal means healthcare workers will get pay increases ranging from £2,205 to £2,751. But this isn’t an offer to end all strike threats just yet: Nurses and physiotherapists have yet to decide whether to stop the strike after the latest government offer.

For now, Nicola Sturgeon hails the announcement as a victory: SNP health secretary Humza Yousaf, who has faced calls to resign as NHS waiting lists continue to grow, welcomed Unite’s decision and Unison to accept the ‘record payment offer’. More than 60 percent of Unite the Union members voted for an improved wage offer, and 57 percent of the turnout voted to cancel the industrial action, meaning the planned strikes would affect the Ambulance Service of Scotland, as well as the Scottish NHS in general. , It has been canceled. Ambulance drivers in Scotland will not be on strike this winter.

The agreement shows that the Scottish government “is no longer [taking] NHS workers for granted,’ said James O’Connell, Unite the Union’s chief negotiator for Scotland’s NHS. Unison’s health committee chairwoman, Wilma Brown, echoed O’Connell’s comments, saying her union’s vote “was not a victory for the government, it’s a warning.”

What does this mean? Well, the concerns of the workers have not evaporated. It’s worth noting that just over half of union members voted in favor of this latest salary offer. There are plenty of NHS staff left who feel let down. Offers of better pay help, of course, but there remains a staffing crisis in the health service that desperately requires attention. This understaffing contributes to an increased workload and a slower progression from the A&E doors to the discharge forms. This delay, in turn, is linked to the blocking of hospital beds. All the problems facing the NHS are so cleverly interlinked that solving one in isolation doesn’t make as much of a difference as one might hope.

On a brighter note, concerns that Category 2 patients (those suffering from heart attacks and strokes) would face severe delays getting to the hospital after calling emergency services, in addition to record wait times at A&E. , fortunately they can be unfounded. The NHS is already facing a terrible few months, given the cold weather and post-pandemic delays, and striking staff would no doubt add to its burden. Any victory here is something to celebrate. A leaked report shows that the government can even recruit volunteers to help with the workload and cover for striking staff, as I wrote in Recently.

But volunteers are not enough. You have to make compromises. As the snow falls all around us, it is abundantly clear that this winter will be harsh. Hospitals are already forecasting another surge in patient numbers as the cost-of-living crisis collides with winter’s freezing temperatures and viruses. Properly trained medical staff is required if we are to truly turn our backlog of patients around and deal with a winter admission. This means retaining the staff that you already have in the health service, working with them constructively rather than standing still, but also recruiting more.

It’s good news, of course, that Scottish ambulance drivers aren’t leaving. But there’s not much to celebrate: the strike vote for the Royal College of Nurses closes on December 19, and the vote for young doctors to take labor action will take place in early January. Elsewhere in the country, meanwhile, the RMT has just rejected its latest wage offer: it means train staff will go ahead with two 48-hour strikes this week.

So today’s news is a victory for NHS workers and concerned patients, but it is a small one. A more candid discussion is needed, on both sides, if we are to see any kind of health service work this Christmas.

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