In the UK, unions and the government have agreed on higher wages after weeks of strikes in the NHS. Whether the compromise will be implemented, however, is still open. Workers have the final say and not all unions recommended on Thursday the adoption of the agreement, which would apply to around one million workers.
The offer includes a one-time payment of 2 percent of the respective salary for 2022/23 and an increase of another 5 percent for 2023/24. The more than one million employees had originally demanded significantly more.
In Great Britain, numerous professional groups have been striking for weeks in view of high inflation for significantly more money. Only on Wednesday, tens of thousands of public sector workers, including many junior doctors, demonstrated in London for higher wages. Across the country, hundreds of thousands stopped work.
Fiercest protests since the 1980s
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has recently been under intense pressure to pacify the fiercest protests since the 1980s. The Conservative government had long refused to negotiate more money for NHS staff, arguing that this would only fuel high inflation. Now she spoke of a fair and reasonable solution. Sunak said it was important that the agreement was budget-sustainable and did not jeopardize his plan to halve the inflation rate.
Three of the unions represented in the negotiations recommended that their members accept the offer. The employee representation Unite, however, said that it would suspend the strikes during the members' vote, but could not recommend the offer.
Before Christmas, the nurses' union RCN had called its members to strike for the first time in its history. Rescue workers also went on strike. The NHS has been considered underfunded for years. Millions of people are on waiting lists for operations.
For months, labor disputes in various industries have repeatedly paralyzed the country. At Deutsche Bahn, for example, there is still no solution for all groups of employees and for all companies.