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Brexit: Britain’s nursing union ready for national strike

LONDON: Preparations for a national nurses’ strike are in full swing after British Finance Minister Rishi Sunak presented the budget in Parliament on March 3. Within 24 hours of the budget being presented, the Union RCN (Royal College of Nursing) of the National Health Service, a UK-based public health organization, called an emergency meeting and unanimously decided to set up a ‌ 35 million (Rs 350 crore) strike fund.

The strike fund is intended to campaign for the strike and to compensate nurses who are union members participating in the strike. The RCN Union Council decided to set up the fund within a day and to discuss the next steps of the strike with the union members.

The biggest slogan put forward by the current Prime Minister, including Boris Johnson, during the Brexit campaign was, “If Brexit is implemented, the government could save the EU 350 350 million a week, and that money could be used for the development of the health sector.” Many had hoped that the first budget after Brexit would provide a good amount of money for the NHSC.

But even in this budget, the Tory party has continued its old policy of protecting the interests of the rich. The budget not only did not allocate enough money to the health sector but also accelerated the pace of privatization in the health sector and put in place measures that put even existing services in crisis. In addition, raising the income tax threshold in all budgets has been scrapped this year. This will lead to further tax evasion. The Tory government has announced a one per cent pay rise for doctors and nurses.

Protesting against this decision, the largest nursing union in the UK decided to set up a strike fund within 24 hours of the budget being presented.

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