Showing posts with label UK. Show all posts
Showing posts with label UK. Show all posts

Saturday 18 March 2023

Is the Nurses' Strike Over? RCN To Recommend New Pay Offer to Members

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has announced that they have received a new pay offer from NHS England, which it says it will recommend to members in a forthcoming vote. If accepted, this would bring an end to industrial action by nurses, 3 months after the strikes began.

The offer from the Government, which was made to all healthcare staff striking, including nurses, paramedics, 999 call handlers, midwives, security guards, and cleaners, includes a one-off payment for the 2022-23 financial year worth between £1655 and £3789, and a 5% consolidated pay increase for the 2023-24 financial year, according to the RCN.

New Pay Structure and Policy Framework on Safe Staffing

The deal also includes a new pay structure for nursing staff, which would come into force for 2024-2025. In addition, the Government had made a commitment – for the first time – to a national evidence-based policy framework on safe staffing, focusing on registered nurses, that "will draw on legislation in the rest of the UK and internationally", according to the RCN.

RCN General Secretary and Chief Executive Pat Cullen sees the deal as a win for nurses.

"The Government was forced into these negotiations and to reopen the pay award as a result of the historic pressure from nursing staff. Members took the hardest of decisions to go on strike and I believe they have been vindicated today," she said.

"It is not a panacea, but it is real tangible progress and the RCN's member leaders are asking fellow nursing staff to support what our negotiations have secured."

If Members Accept the Deal: 'No More Strikes'

The RCN's elected council met Thursday morning and decided that it will recommend that members vote to accept the offer in a forthcoming consultation. If members accept it, the dispute with Government and the NHS over pay will formally end. 

Negotiations with the RCN started 3 weeks ago, and all NHS unions took part in the last 10 days of talks. Aside from the RCN, UNISON, GMB, the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, and the British Dietetic Association will also recommend the offer to their members in consultations that will be held over the coming weeks, according to the Department of Health and Social Care. Strike action will continue to be paused while they are consulted.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said of the deal: "It is right that we reward our hardworking NHS staff, who showed bravery and dedication throughout the pandemic and continue to make phenomenal progress to tackle waiting lists. Importantly this deal is also affordable for the taxpayer and continues to deliver on my promise to halve inflation.

"We have taken a reasonable approach throughout and this offer is good for NHS staff, it’s good for the taxpayer, and most importantly it is good news for patients whose care will no longer be disrupted by strike action."

Health and Social Care Secretary Steve Barclay said: "This offer will give nurses, paramedics, physiotherapists and other non-medical staff a fair pay rise while protecting our commitment to halve inflation."

Next Up: Junior Doctors

Responding to news that a pay deal has been reached in principle between the Government and unions, the Chief Executive of NHS Providers, Sir Julian Hartley said: "This is hugely positive development after months of strike action, which has seen NHS staff out on picket lines and widespread disruption to patient care, with tens of thousands of appointments postponed.
"We are very encouraged by the guarantee from the Government that there will be no impact on frontline services or the quality of care that patients receive as a result of this offer. We take this to mean that the deal is fully funded rather than relying on raids on NHS budgets, taking money away from key services. This is crucial to the success of the deal.

"It is also good to see that as a result of this deal all staff will be lifted above the real living wage, something we have long called for.

"We now need to see today's progress matched by urgent movement on talks between the Government and unions representing junior doctors. As trust leaders assess the full extent of the disruption caused by this week's 72-hour walkout, their message is loud and clear: Redouble your efforts to find a way through. No more strikes."

Tuesday 9 April 2019

Do UK political defections and BREXIT matter to financial markets?

British politics isn’t having an easy ride. Recent defections from both Labour and the  Conservatives will diminish further the power both leaders have over their parties. Is this political turmoil significant for financial markets, though?

Some Labour politicians and  Conservative politicians (at the last count) have resigned from their respective parties and are sitting as independents.

Broadly speaking they believe that their parties have been hijacked by the extremes. They are currently under no obligation to resign as MPs, although a number of them were in danger of being deselected as candidates at the next election anyway.

In the end, probably nothing – most people vote for party not candidate, anyway. In all likelihood, these MPs will disappear from view at the next election. The British political system makes it very difficult for new parties to emerge – particularly new centrist parties.

This isn’t the first time this has happened. A few of us might remember the Social Democratic Party, led by four serious politicians (David Owen, David Steele, Shirley Williams and Roy Jenkins) – far better known than the current crop. And they made relatively little headway.

Of course a new centrist group might prove to have more staying power in the current political environment. But history isn’t on their side. And nor, you’d guess, are the Liberal Democrats who will claim that they already occupy this particular piece of high ground.

I believe it means relatively little for financial markets. This group would probably have voted with their consciences on Brexit, so it’s not clear that resigning the whip matters much at this point.
On the fate of the next government, maybe it’s positive for Corbyn and his Labour project, but again, you’d guess that these MPs will struggle against whoever represents Labour/Conservatives against them next time.

Recent events are certainly very interesting, but the base case is that they’re not going to change the face of British politics (for better or worse) or the outlook for global markets. So we’ll stay focused on other things, for me it is the better patient experience and safer care.