News ID: 114570
Publish Date : 01 May 2023 - 22:36

LONDON (Dispatches) -- Historic strikes by nurses in the UK’s NHS over pay and working conditions mirror the struggle of many health workers in other European countries.
Nurses in England staged their biggest strike so far on Monday, with the walkout affecting intensive care, emergency rooms and cancer wards for the first time as part of a dispute over pay.
Health unions, ministers and National Health Service (NHS) bosses are due to meet on Tuesday to discuss the government’s offer of a 5 percent pay rise for 2023-24 and a lump sum of at least £1,655 (€1,884) to top up last year’s salary.
Unions say wages, especially in the public sector, have fallen in real terms over the past decade, and a cost-of-living crisis fuelled by double-digit inflation has left many struggling to pay their bills.
Annual gross salaries of hospital nurses in the UK increased by 10 percent in nominal terms but fell by 6 percent in real terms between 2010 and 2019, according to a dataset released by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
The UK is not the only country in which health workers went on strike over the past year.
In Spain, thousands of health personnel, including doctors working in emergency services, were on strike in November. Besides a considerable increase in their wages, they requested more staff and more resources.
In France, health workers joined protests in several cities last June with similar demands.
In Turkey, health personnel went on strike for better pay and work conditions last year. They took to the streets in several Turkish cities in July to call for more action to prevent violence after a cardiologist was shot dead by a patient’s relative.
According to the Turkish Medical Association, thousands of Turkish doctors have left their posts to work abroad over the past decade. They mostly prefer to move to Western countries, especially Germany.
Health personnel, particularly hospital nurses, have worked ceaselessly during the COVID-19 pandemic. In many European countries, they are demanding better wages, improved working conditions, and more resources.
There are significant differences in nurses’ salaries across Europe.
In 2020 or the closest year with available data, official annual gross salaries in hospitals ranged from about €11,880 in Lithuania to €101,151 in Luxembourg, according to the OECD. The dataset includes 25 European countries.

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