AT A GLANCE:
(then scroll lower down this page for detailed information)
1: Our sincere thanks go to all NHS and Social Care staff
2: NHS Strike Resources
3: It’s Time We Look After Them
4: Nurses (Royal College of Nursing) strike action
5: Ambulance Workers (GMB, Unite, Unison) strike action
6: Junior Doctors (British Medical Association) strike action
7: Physiotherapy (Chartered Society of Physiotherapy) strike action
8: The Government are running scared – PROTECT THE RIGHT TO STRIKE
9: Recent campaign activity in the North East re NHS workforce: May Day March and Rally 29.4.23 | Petition: Our staff deserve better Jan 2023 | Petition: Protect the Right to Strike Jan 2023 | Doctors Strike Demo 14.4.23 | Protect the Right to Strike 18.2.23 | RCN Picket line 6.2.23 | Protect the Right to Strike 1.2.23 | Christmas Day 25.12.22 | Thank You to all in General Practice 23.12.22 | Thank You to Sunderland Royal NHS Staff 21.12.22 | RCN Strike Day 20.12.22 | Thank You North Tyneside General 18.12.22 | North Shields Rally 2 for NHS Staff 17.12.22 | Thank You to Freeman Hospital NHS Staff 17.12.22 | RCN Strike Day 15.12.22 | Thank You to Durham NHS Staff 14.12.22 | North Shields Rally 1 10.12.22
Our sincere thanks go to all NHS and social care staff
Our staff deserve better – as a starter, the following needs to be done:
• Substantial pay rise for NHS staff as negotiated by their unions
• Make life better for staff, e.g. by provision of free car parking, access to hot meals and rest facilities; child care facilities at work; flexible working; subsidised accommodation
RECRUITMENT AND RETENTION
• Government to publish an annual workforce plan based on projected needs of population for health and care
• Bursaries for those training in health care (including allied health professionals) and payment of tuition fees where this is relevant
• Recruitment of staff from overseas to be underpinned by ethical principles, ensuring there is no loss of pay or inferior working conditions
• End visa charges and health surcharge for overseas staff, and give them the right to become British citizens
• Change pension rules to retain experienced NHS staff and remove barriers to retirees returning to work
• An immediate and urgent recruitment campaign to fill the 130,000 vacancies
SOCIAL CARE STAFF
• Social care to be radically reimagined and co-produced with service users, carers, workers and local communities
• Provide care workers with pay and conditions that reflect their high value and skills; minimum wage of £15/hr; training and career structure, with an immediate cost of living pay rise and for pay to be linked to inflation
• Increase GP numbers by at least 6,000 together with 26,000 more practice nurses and receptionists
• Support general practice and stop the negative briefings against GPs; recognise the importance to patients and GPs of continuity of care
• Massive increases in NHS beds and staffing are necessary if demand for services is going to be met. This requires substantially more investment than has so far been forthcoming, especially in community based preventive services
REMEMBERING AND LEARNING FROM COVID
• Mourn those who have died from COVID-19 by maintaining the current memorial wall, establish both a new bank holiday and a monument to health and other key workers who have died.
From 2022 SOS NHS Conference – click here for info
A national disgrace
A national disgrace
NHS Strike Resources
Messaging Guide to the Nurses Pay Dispute (principles, core message, stats)
Download the KONP “Stand with NHS Staff” leaflet (print off and share)
National KONP website page “NHS Strikes and Solidarity” (resources and links)
The LowDown Nurses’ and paramedics’ pay fact sheet
Interactive StrikeMap, giving details of all current strikes in the UK
Join KONPNE in demonstrating our solidarity and support to the NHS staff on the picket lines – information is here plus scroll down this page for photos.
It’s Time We Look After Them
Excellent Youtube video with Tom Griffiths, Head of Campaigns, national KONP
Nurses (Royal College of Nursing) Strike Action
See photos and report below
Thursday 15th and Tuesday 20th December 2022, Wednesday 18th and Thursday 19th January 2023, Monday 6th February and Tuesday 7th February 2023, Morning of Wednesday 1st March to morning of Friday 3rd March
***STRIKE ACTION IS CURRENTLY PAUSED FOR TALKS***
plus scroll down for more pictures from the North East
The RCN nurses are striking for their pay, our health, and the future of #OURNHS
Their struggle for pay justice is right at the heart of the huge problems facing our NHS services. If we cannot win better pay and conditions for NHS staff, the staffing shortage crisis will only get worse. The worse the crisis, the more enabled the Government will feel to ‘rescue’ the NHS with increasing private sector involvement.
Gay Lee writes:
“Nurses need better pay. Nurses are resorting to foodbanks and are being forced to decide whether to eat or heat. Health Care Assistants and Band 5 nurses form the bulk of the workforce and they are the worst paid.
We need to train more nurses and retain more nurses
Inexperienced nurses rely on experienced colleagues – the very ones who are leaving or taking early retirement. Working conditions are so bad that the workforce is losing more staff than are joining
Still no plan for the NHS workforce
The Government had a chance to do something about pay. They could have agreed to a legally binding and funded workforce strategy when passing the Health and Care Act earlier this year. They refused this opportunity but it’s the only long-term solution. However one quick action to help retain nurses and immediately alleviate this nursing crisis is to sort out the pay dispute. And the only way to do this appears to be to strike because the government is not listening to anything else.
Safe care for patients
Nurses have a duty to keep patients safe and they want and try to, but are unable because of lack of funding and poor staffing levels. Daily we hear stories in the media of patients dying because of lack of beds, scanners, ambulances… and staff.”
Many thanks to RCN and KONP member Gay Lee for the above points. Read the full article on the national KONP website here.
Ambulance workers (GMB, Unite, Unison) strike action
21st December 2022 (GMB, Unite, Unison), 11th and 23rd January 2023, 6th and 20th February 2023 (Unite), 6th and 20th March 2023 (GMB,Unite)
***STRIKE ACTION IS CURRENTLY PAUSED FOR TALKS***
More than 10,000 ambulance workers have voted to strike across nine trusts in England and Wales. Paramedics, Emergency Care Assistants, call handlers and other staff are now set to walk out. Workers across the ambulance services and some NHS Trusts have voted to strike over the Government’s imposed 4 per cent pay award – another massive real terms pay cut.
Rachel Harrison, GMB National Secretary, said:
“Ambulance workers – like other NHS workers – are on their knees. Demoralised and downtrodden, they’ve faced twelve years Conservative cuts to the service and their pay packets, fought on the frontline of a global pandemic and now face the worst cost of living crisis in a generation. No one in the NHS takes strike action lightly – today shows just how desperate they are. This is as much about unsafe staffing levels and patient safety as it is about pay. A third of GMB ambulance workers think delays they’ve been involved with have led to the death of a patient.
Something has to change or the service as we know it will collapse. GMB calls on the Government to avoid a Winter of NHS strikes by negotiating a pay award that these workers deserve.”
Click here for the GMB poster
Click here for the Unite poster
Junior Doctors (British Medical Association) strike action
Four-day strike action from 11th to 15th April 2023
RVI, Newcastle upon Tyne: 14th April 2023 – plus scroll down for more pix
Click here for a report from the Chronicle (11th April 2023)
Click here for a report from the Chronicle (13th March 2023)
Hear the message from Dr Andrew Meyerson:
Junior doctors in England will take industrial action in a 72-hour walkout from 13th March 2023.
The results of a ballot of the BMA’s junior doctor members revealed that 98 per cent of votes endorsed calls for industrial action, based on a turnout of 77.49 per cent.
The result represents a huge mandate for strike action and is the highest ever number of junior doctors voting for strike action, and a record turnout.
The BMA has been campaigning for full pay restoration with junior doctors having experienced a 26 per cent real-terms pay cut since 2008 amid a cost-of-living crisis and spiralling working conditions in the NHS. This year, the Government gave junior doctors a 2% pay uplift, which the BMA says amounts to a 10% real-terms pay cut when soaring inflation is taken into account. The association said this means junior doctors are working more than a month for ‘free’ this year and that the Government has ignored all requests to meet with junior doctor representatives to discuss options.
It is ‘deeply concerned that ongoing pay erosion will continue to drive doctors out of the profession, leading to a vicious cycle of dwindling staff numbers and worsening patient care’.
NHS Physiotherapy staff (Chartered Society of Physiotherapy) strike action:
26 January and 9 February 2023
“We know taking strike action is an absolute last resort for CSP members, but NHS staff not only deserve better pay but also desperately need it during this cost of living crisis. This dispute will protect patient services both now and into the future, and it’s essential that the government comes up with an improved offer to avert further strikes and demonstrate they understand the scale of the problem”.
CLAIRE SULLIVAN, CSP DIRECTOR OF EMPLOYER RELATIONS AND UNION SERVICES
Click here for more info
The Government are running scared
PROTECT THE RIGHT TO STRIKE
Crucial that we are joining together to show our teachers, firefighters, civil servants, rail workers, NHS workers and countless others that we support their action to defend pay, jobs and services. A clear message is being sent to the government that we will not be ignored….and their panic response is to try to stifle our voices….the Government are running scared.
If we want a NHS, then we need to support the NHS Strike actions….and we also need to protect the right to strike.
Scroll down to see pix from the Newcastle Right to Strike demo in Newcastle (1st February 2023)
Recent campaign activity in the North East re NHS workforce
Saturday 29th April 2023 – Tyne and Wear May Day March and Rally
Solidarity from all at KONPNE. May Day reminds us of the importance of collective action – crucial in the past and crucial in 2023 when people are struggling day to day as a result of the cost of living crisis and at a time of savage public sector cuts and pay injustice.
We stand in solidarity with all staff working in the NHS who are striking for fair pay, safe staffing levels and for the future of our NHS.
Angela Robinson, retired nurse, addressed the rally in Newcastle city centre on behalf of KONPNE – many thanks to the May Day Committee for inviting us to speak and for organising.
Late 2022 / early 2023 – Petition
OUR NHS STAFF DESERVE BETTER – THIS “PAY RISE” IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH
to sign the change.org petition
to join “NHS Workers Say NO! to Public Sector pay inequality” facebook group
Late 2022 / early 2023 – Petition
Protect the Right to Strike: Sign the TUC / Megaphone petition
Our right to strike is under attack.
Rishi Sunak has detailed his anti-union legislation and plans to introduce new laws in the coming weeks. It means that when workers democratically vote to strike, they could be forced to work and sacked if they don’t. That’s wrong, unworkable, and almost certainly illegal. These new laws are a direct attack on working people’s fundamental right to strike to defend their pay, terms and conditions.
to sign the TUC / Megaphone petition
Friday 14th April 2023 – Huge support for North East Doctors strike demo
No doubt about it – today, as always, the City of Newcastle shows a huge support, good wishes, thanks and solidarity to our North East medics. And some puzzling questions – Where IS Steve Barclay? What IS the Government doing to resolve the pay dispute? Where is the workforce plan? Why aren’t they at the negotiating table? And a clear message to our medics – we are proud of you and we stand alongside you. We stand with all NHS staff who are fighting not only for fair pay, but for the safety of us all and for the future of our NHS. We send solidarity from KONPNE to all public sector workers.
Saturday 18th February 2023 – One Clear Message
Defend the Right to Strike: Newcastle march and rally
Called by Newcastle upon Tyne TUC and Peoples Assembly North East – an impressive range of speakers…..and one clear message
Liz Blackshaw, TUC Northern Regional Secretary: “Defending the right to strike is critical. This Government is not listening – we need a Government that makes sure working people are not sacked for asserting their rights”
Mark Hugall, CWU Newcastle Amalgamated Branch Secretary: “Today we stand together to make a better future for everyone”
Jamie Driscoll, North of Tyne Mayor: “Nurses are taking action for the first time in one hundred years…..they say the public doesn’t support the strikes – but it is the public who are on strike….”
Sarah Dodsworth, Regional Director, RCN Northern, Yorkshire and Humber: “We need to defend the right to strike – we need to make things better for our children and our childrens children”
Miles Elliott, Unison, Ambulance Workers: “Going on strike is a difficult decision as there is an acute staffing crisis and the staff who remain are under more pressure – but the Government response is dereliction of duty”
Simon Elliott, PCS Regional Secretary: “There is a crisis in the civil service. In a survey of members, 40,000 members are using food banks”
Adam Hansen, UCU Northumbria Branch Chair: “Thousands of staff are on zero hour contracts, and many staff work extra hours. Enough is enough……it is important to stand up for our rights, including the right to strike. Stand up, stand proud, stand together”
Alex Snowdon, NEU Regional Chair: “Together we are stronger – when we co-ordinate our actions we are a powerful force”
Jan Shortt, General Secretary, NPC: “We offer our solidarity and support for as long as you need it”
Karen Lockney, North East Peoples Assembly: “We need to fight inequality and hate – the Government are running scared of working people and we will not be silenced. Our ancestors won these rights and they cannot be taken away now”
Jude Letham, Co-ordinator, Keep Our NHS Public North East: “We stand with all NHS staff who are fighting not only for fair pay, but for the safety of us all and for the future of our NHS. It is clear that if you want a NHS, you will need to become a NHS activist. We send solidarity from KONP North East to all public sector workers, and we’ll see you on a picket line soon”
Martin Levy, Tyne and Wear Association of Trades Councils: “One very clear message is given today – we continue to join together to defend our right to strike”
Monday 6th February 2023 – Picket line of strength at Newcastle RVI
A picket line of strength…..and absolutely no doubt that the public are also standing strong and supporting striking nurses at the RVI this morning. Cars, buses, taxi horns a plenty, and many thanks for the sustenance provided by passers by (it was calm, sunny….but damn chilly) and especially to the very kind member of public who parked opposite, set up a trestle table, and invited all to come over for a hot tea / coffee / cuppa soup throughout the day – his one comment: “Nurses were there when I needed you – this is the very least I can do…..”
John Whalley (KONPNE) and Rehana Azam (RCN National Officer) and a very strong picket line at the RVI Newcastle upon Tyne
Members of KONPNE were proud to stand with the RCN and we remember: NHS staff are striking for fairness regarding pay, our health, and the future of #OURNHS
Also great to meet up with long-time KONPNE supporter and fellow activist Rehana Azam, now a national officer with RCN. Rehana: “All of our members here today don’t want to be on a picket line. They are brilliant at their jobs and want to be back on the wards….but we need the Government to listen to what our members are saying. It is not safe on the wards. We need is the Government to invest in the NHS and in the nursing profession.”
We remember Rehana from the Darlo Mums organisation of the 999 Peoples March for the NHS – walking from Jarrow to Parliament in 2014… with music from Billy Bragg in London….
1st February 2023: Protect the Right to Strike: TUC March and Rally – Civic Centre to Grey’s Monument, Newcastle upon Tyne
If you want a NHS, then you need to support the NHS Strike actions….and protect the right to strike.
Amazing scenes at Grey’s Monument today as thousands of people gathered in support of the right to strike – a HUGE march and rally – one of the biggest in Newcastle for a long, long time. Important to march together to show our teachers, firefighters, civil servants, rail workers, NHS workers and countless others that we support their action to defend pay, jobs and services. A clear message was sent to the government that we will not be ignored.
KONPNE were proud to be there and we remember: NHS staff are striking for fairness regarding pay, our health, and the future of #OURNHS
25th December 2022 – Christmas Day card deliveries to Keyworkers
KONPNE outside the Freeman Hospital on Christmas Day – MANY MANY THANKS to all NHS Staff
We all know it – but perhaps we don’t think about it….?
NHS staff provide comprehensive, expert healthcare and support 24 / 7 x 365 cover. All days and all nights, Christmas Day included. Surely THAT is worth saving??
We need to halt the steady erosion of our NHS. Join us with the Campaign in the North East….click here for details of the January meeting.….and, between now and then, wishing you a happy and healthy time at Christmas
23rd December 2022 – Card deliveries to GP surgeries across the region
Our thanks go to the many health professionals working at GP surgeries across the NE. You are, more often than not, the first port of call and have the superhuman task of managing an ever-increasing patient list and ever-increasing demands at a time of service cuts, closures, staff shortages and slashed funding. We delivered our Thank You cards to a representative number of practices and, to EVERYONE in Primary Care across the region, we offer an unreserved and sincere THANK YOU.
21st December 2022 – Sincere thanks to NHS staff in Sunderland
A busy lunchtime – with the team at KONP Sunderland and District meeting, greeting and providing seasonal Thank You cards to nurses, receptionists, cleaners, physios and emergency response staff at Sunderland Royal. The NHS staff working in Sunderland make an impressive team, and we give our sincere thanks.
20th December 2022 – We Stand with NHS Staff
KONPNE solidarity with @RCNNorthern @theRCN picket at Newcastle RVI and North Tyneside General on the second day of the RCN Strike.
KONPNE and, indeed, the vast majority of people in the country stand with NHS Staff – it can’t be made any clearer than that.
18th December 2022 – Festive KONPNE at North Tyneside General
This won’t shorten the waiting list, or improve working conditions, or put money in the wage packet – but our KONPNE Christmas Thank You cards for NHS staff are a small way of demonstrating a sincere Thank You, and were very well received by surprised North Tyneside General Hospital staff this morning. A sincere THANK YOU to all NHS staff in North Tyneside.
17th December 2022 – North Shields Rally 2 for NHS Staff
Members of KONPNE were pleased to support and speak at the second in a sequence of two rallies in North Shields supporting the NHS strikes, hosted by the National Shop Stewards Network (NE). All trade unionists, patients & health workers were invited to speak on the open mic.
Craig Thompson, GMB North Tyneside, Assistant Branch Secretary: “This strike is not solely about wages. It is about safety, waiting lists, ambulances, shortage of doctors and nurses. This is a planned route to privatisation and must not happen”
Graeme Cansdale, RMT: “This demoralisation and underfunding is linked with the marketisation of our public services. Profit, the primary motive, is literally killing people”
John Hoare, Unite the Union Not for Profit branch: “The media vilifies anyone who stands up – not just political leaders, but also Union leaders. The National Shop Stewards Network brings together Trade Unionists from across the board, and that is what is now needed”
Caroline Cansdale, Unison North Tyneside: “Social care is an essential part of the picture. There is an need for additional funding”
Jude Letham, Co-ordinator, Keep Our NHS Public North East: “One of the easiest ways to encourage privatisation in the NHS is to underpay and overwork NHS staff. We are standing alongside the nurses on the picket lines”
John Whalley, Keep Our NHS Public North East: “The NHS runs on the goodwill of staff – working longer hours to provide adequate cover, staying on late to write up notes, covering shifts at short notice, facing up to very significant personal risks throughout the recent pandemic. If we’re not careful, this goodwill will be lost forever”
William Jarrett, National Shop Stewards Network, North East: “The NSSN stands in complete solidarity with NHS workers and all workers engaged in industrial action. Our purpose is to link and unite their struggles and to coordinate wherever possible”
Click here for pix
17th December 2022 – 7am: frosty weather and a very warm response at the Freeman Hospital, Newcastle
Frosty weather and a warm response – up at 7am to catch the early shift and the departing night shift…. our KONPNE Christmas Thank You cards were very well received by staff at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital. Our sincere thanks go to you for all you have done over the past year.
15th December 2022 – Pay Justice for NHS Staff
Proud to stand alongside nurses and supporters outside the Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle upon Tyne this afternoon, and outside North Tyneside General Hospital this evening. The Royal College of Nursing are striking for pay justice AND ALSO for the integrity of our healthcare system and for the future of the NHS. We stand with NHS Staff.
14th December 2022 – A huge Thank You to NHS staff in Durham
What can we say to our NHS staff at the end of the year that was? Or maybe, at times, actions speak louder than words? A Christmas card won’t shorten the waiting list, or improve working conditions, or put money in the wage packet – but it is a small way of demonstrating a sincere Thank You.
KONPNE Santa’s were at the University Hospital of North Durham this lunchtime, and our KONPNE cards were very well received by staff. A sincere Thank You to all at Durham.
Join us in giving out our KONPNE Christmas ThankYou Cards to NHS staff over the next few days…. it’s the very least we can do……
Saturday 17th December at 7am – Freeman Hospital, Newcastle, meet at bus stop by main gate
Sunday 18th December at 7am – North Tyneside General Hospital, North Shields, meet at bus stop on Rake Lane
Wednesday 21st December at 12 noon – Sunderland Royal Hospital, meet at bus stop on Chester Road
….. and another action – we will be supporting the nurse picket lines in Newcastle and North Tyneside tomorrow – click our action page on this website for info
10th December 2022 – Inspiring speakers at North Shields rally in support of NHS strikes
Dr Helen Groom (KONPNE) and Dr Pam Wortley (SHA and KONP)
An amazing @NSSN_AntiCuts North Shields #NHSStrikes rally! Speakers included Michelle Barrett-Ruecroft (RCN), Craig Toft (Unite), John Harrison (DPAC), Dr Pam Wortley (SHA), John Hoare (Unite) and Dr Helen Groom (KONPNE). Many thanks to William Jarrett (NSSN-NE) for organising and hosting.
Dr Helen Groom:
“What horrifies me is that over the last few years, as a country, we seem to believe that there’s nothing we can do to stop the increased privatisation of the NHS. We can. We need to start giving our politician’s very clear and unambiguous messages. WE (and that should include you) DEMAND that the government: 1. Pay Nurses properly: without fair pay, staffing shortages will cost lives 2. Invest in a fully publicly owned NHS & guarantee free healthcare for future generations”
Dr Pam Wortley:
We need -emergency investment to rebuild #OurNHS -deliver pay justice to all health and care workers @NHSStaffVoices -end private interests in the NHS
….and we do it all again next Saturday, same place! Saturday 17th December 2022, 1pm at Bedford Street, North Shields. Make sure that you show your support for NHS staff – this Rally is about supporting fair wages, the integrity of our healthcare and the future of the NHS.
Click here for event details
The Chronicle (15th March 2023) Striking junior doctors rally in Newcastle as thousands of medics, teachers, civil servants and BBC radio staff head for picket lines on unprecedented day
ITV News (15th December 2022) Nurses strikes: Which hospitals in the North East are affected?
The Chronicle (15th December 2022) North East’s striking nurses say action is to protect ‘mams and dads, brothers and sisters’ during historic NHS walk-out
The Guardian (3rd December 2022) Ministers accused of ‘spoiling for a fight’ with nurses over pay
The Guardian (27th November 2022) Brexit has worsened shortage of NHS doctors, analysis shows
Observer (27th November 2022) Stress, exhaustion and 1,000 patients a day: the life of an English GP
KONP (18th November 2022) Why nurses need to strike
The Guardian (18th September 2022) There is no end point to the work of a GP – it is an almost impossible job to do well
The Guardian (13th April 2022) Third of GPs in England want to quit within five years, survey finds