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British NHS staff stage mass protest

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Britain’s National Health Service workers have staged a mass walkout over a pay dispute with the government.

Over 400,000 NHS workers, including midwives, nurses, radiographers and psychiatric staff, have taken action as part of an ongoing battle with the government over pay. The strikes follow a government decision to reject a proposed 1 percent pay rise.

Four hours of industrial action began at 7a.m. in England and 8a.m. in Northern Ireland on November 24. It included NHS employees from 11 different unions.

The strike action will be followed by up to six days of work-to-rule. Measures will include members claiming pay for extra hours or refusing to work overtime. And staff will take all breaks to which they are entitled.

Now author, journalist and researcher Alan Hart says 90% of NHS workers “will get jobs elsewhere out of the NHS if jobs were available.”

Hart also noted that “the basic problem is (the NHS) needs lots more money. It’s going to have a short fall. It is estimated that 30 Billion pounds by 2020, but what the government has been doing for the last several years is actually cutting back.”

He said that “in the NHS, we now have chief executives that get paid a quarter of a million, half a million. We have now more bureaucrats in the health service than we do what I call the cold-face people.”

The latest walkout is the second NHS walkout in a month. On October 13, for the first time in history, NHS midwives staged a four-hour walkout as part of the continuing fight for fairer pay.


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