Members of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) voted overwhelmingly to reject ministers “best and final” improved pay rise, and people are worried. The public wants to know what this means if they get sick, such as whether appointments will be cancelled, and the situation creates a general unease.
That it comes after SNP figures crowed about averting other strikes with a settlement only makes it worse.
People all across Britain face disruption, inconvenience and a sense of anxiety, all of which are what gives the strikes power. These are not isolated incidents, maverick unions with an anti-Government agenda going for a big pay day.
Unions say it is not just about their own pockets, but more complaints over a lack of funding, staff shortages and just the general way they have been treated.
Julie Lamberth, RCN Scotland board chair, said the decision came after “years of being undervalued and understaffed”.
The branch secretary of the London Ambulance Service Unison said it was also about the workload, morale and not being allowed to do their job properly “because of all the issues that's going on elsewhere within the NHS”.
Those striking want better for themselves, but are also warning a lack of investment is making our health, our rail and our general infrastructure worse.
Speaking to friends who are nurses, for years they have complained about a lack of money, time, work/life balance, but taken pride in helping people. With cuts to funding, and more planned for after the general election by the UK Government, that pride is no longer enough to sustain a workforce.
This issue is not unique, has been brewing for years and the situation is only going to escalate. Nearly all those in healthcare insist patients won’t suffer, with emergency measures in place to make up for the shortfall. But in reality, struggling services with growing waiting times will get worse.
We are all going to be impacted by the strikes, and must all worry more about basic things like trains and health. But with clear public support for pay rises, if not the strikes, the only way these go away is with more funding.