At Prime Minister’s Questions today, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer decried nurses’ strike action as a “badge of shame” and accused the Prime Minister of being “in hibernation”, instead of working to call off the strike.

He told Prime Minister Rishi Sunak that he needed to “open the door and discuss pay” with the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) union to avert the strikes.

“If he did, the whole country would breathe a sigh of relief. Why won’t he?”, Sir Keir asked.

The Labour leader added that nurses going on strike “is a badge of shame for this Government”.

“Instead of showing leadership, he is playing games with people’s health and there is a human cost.”

But Mr Sunak said that nurses have a “fair” pay deal and that the Government had “consistently spoken to all the unions involved in all the pay disputes”.

The Prime Minister said the Government was standing by the offers recommended by the independent pay review body and claimed the strikes were “Labour’s nightmare before Christmas”, because of the party’s links with the unions.

Sir Keir accused Mr Sunak of “pretending everything was fine” in response.

The exchange comes as workers across the public sector are set to strike through the Christmas period and into the New Year period.

In November, the RCN union voted to strike by the end of the year over a pay dispute with the Government for the first time in its 106-year history.

At the time, one nurse told Wolves: “Nurses’ pay needs to be in line with other professionals.

“If we don’t do something now, we won’t have any nurses for the future.”

They also expressed concern for the fact that there are already not enough nurses, saying that this puts patients at risk.

William Hallowell
William Hallowell is a Journalism graduate and freelance reporter.


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