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AIBU to ask if you would support a strike by midwifery/nursing staff?

(367 Posts)
HolidayArmadillo Sat 15-Mar-14 11:20:21

Just that really, would you support a strike by frontline NHS midwifery/nursing staff? Following the 1% 'pay rise' news (which is actually a pay cut in real terms and only for those who are experienced staff at the top of their band) more and more of my colleagues have been saying that if it came to it they would strike, many have been reluctant up until this point as no one wants to disrupt women/patient care but the workforce is becoming burnt out, disillusioned and unsafe.

Just wondering what the mumsnet collective has to say?

GertTheFlirt Sat 15-Mar-14 11:23:57

I never understand why one profession feels slighted. All public sector workers are in the same boat. 1% was the norm. I haven't had a pay rise for 7 years. I knew what I was signing up to when I took the job.

Branleuse Sat 15-Mar-14 11:23:59

yes, of course i would.

what else can they do? what other power do they have except their labour??

If we need nurses so much that we couldnt cope with them striking, then why are they getting what is in effect another pay cut.

pay them properly

OrangeMochaFrappucino Sat 15-Mar-14 11:24:39

I support the right to strike and I am horrified by what this govt is doing to NHS staff. The idea of a midwife strike is very frightening - what would happen to women giving birth? I would hold the govt responsible and not blame midwives for doing this but on a personal level, I would be very afraid if it happened - this is because I value midwives so much and wish they were decently treated and rewarded for what they do.

mercibucket Sat 15-Mar-14 11:26:12

they should strike over ward safety. the cuts have affected mw numbers on wards.
i support any strike over pay n conditions but dont think about public support think about pressure on employers

JollyMarie79 Sat 15-Mar-14 11:26:44

As a nurse myself I wouldn't strike. The service is already stretched and I don't believe it would get us anywhere to be honest. I think it would hinder patient care to strike and all that would happen is the trusts would have to contract agency staff which would cost a fortune.
I think at the moment I'm just grateful to have a job with a decent salary and believe the days of annual pay rises for public sector staff are no longer. Crap but reality.
Nursing was never a job I went into for the money and compared to some jobs I feel it's actually well paid with good benefits.
I think we do need to make a stand though, how I'm not sure but I don't believe striking is the answer.... So as a short answer, no I don't support a strike. thanks

Pobblewhohasnotoes Sat 15-Mar-14 11:27:45

I think we have a no strike clause with the RCN.

SilverDragonfly1 Sat 15-Mar-14 11:30:32

I would, but my sister is a nurse so I know how difficult the job is on a more personal level, if that makes sense. She has been the main breadwinner for her family for several years and done all sorts of unsocial hours and unpleasant work to bring in extra money rather than going into the private sector or changing career. Nurses are amazing.

I'm not sure how most people would feel, but the public have been very supportive of fire service strikes which is a positive sign.

LittleprincessinGOLDrocks Sat 15-Mar-14 11:32:12

I would, but then I was a Nurse until recently. The wage did not reflect how hard we were having to work - often we were still there 2-3 hours after our shifts had finished as the ward was over crowded and all patients deserve clean sheets and a full wash (which had to be done around the theatre runs, IVs, Epidural, Morphine, Observations, Med rounds, and all other medical interventions). Then there was the duplicate paper work (i.e - Obs to be written on 3 different forms, 2/3 care plans per patient) which all takes time.
We got to a point where we were working 13 - 16 hours with no break, not even to have a wee. We deserved to be able to have a drink and something to eat, and to go to the toilet!
So yes I would support a strike which gave nurses what they are worth, and protected breaks.
A few years ago at a hospital in Paris all the nurses went on strike. It lasted less than an hour before the hospital agreed to their requests and got them back to work. They realised that a hospital can not run without nurses.

BaileyWhite Sat 15-Mar-14 11:32:24

Absolute support.

Please do strike. The Mh services have been utterly destroyed. What else can we do?

Onesleeptillwembley Sat 15-Mar-14 11:38:29

Can I ask - burnt out and unsafe is nothing to do with the pay award. Why is that relevant?

HolidayArmadillo Sat 15-Mar-14 11:42:38

Thanks this is all really interesting. I don't want to strike but I'm at a loss as to how else to get the government to stand up and listen. Obviously labouring women etc would not be on their own, there would be a skeleton staff there, maybe ELCS and IOL would be cancelled that day and maybe other elective surgeries and clinics would not go ahead but still the basics would be covered.

To whoever asked why complain, 1% is normal! well yes it may be but actually the majority of staff are not entitled to that 1% pay rise as they still have increments to be awarded. Except if you read the government propaganda you'd assume that those increments were awarded just for turning up (ie time served) they aren't, there is a lot of work (paper) that goes into being ready for an appraisal as well as the competences etc you have to meet in order to be awarded your increment, even then once it is applied it's only worth approx 40 pounds per more in your pocket once you factor in tax, NI, student loan and exorbitant pension contributions (which are going up again). I know that there are a lot of people who look at us and think we have it good but why should it be a race to the bottom?

Lj8893 Sat 15-Mar-14 11:45:57

I would support a strike as I know how hard they work, and a pay cut is disgraceful. However, a nurse/midwife strike would be a very scary thing indeed so I would really hope it worked quickly!

caroldecker Sat 15-Mar-14 11:46:19

Whilst there anr enough people applying for the jobs and staying in them, why should they be paid more? A job is 'worth' what is enough to get the right number of the right applicants.
In France, I think, hospitals employ their own staff and agree own terms and conditions. In the UK, the hospitals have no power over pay and conditions.
Nurses should be demanding an end to national wage bargaining and allow hospitals to decide directly.

HolidayArmadillo Sat 15-Mar-14 11:48:08

To answer a question I think burnout is well linked to pay, if you aren't paid what you feel you are worth, you feel under valued, you feel stressed, you feel 'I don't get paid enough for this' when you're undertaking yet another task that used to belong to a junior doctor or you're being sanctioned for making a drug error on a ward where you were the only qualified member of staff with up to 20 patients and no assistance from management. Job satisfaction and pay is clearly linked I'd say and if all your staff are burnt out and have lost that caring part of them I'd say it leads to unsafety. Plus unattractive pay leads to poor retention, people just leave, less staff means the wards are unsafe.

NCISaddict Sat 15-Mar-14 11:49:08

We have the same in the ambulance service, not sure I will strike. I know that if we all go on strike then people will die as a result and I'm not sure I could have that on my conscience. I guess that's what the bosses are banking on.
I do feel a bit miffed that tube drivers earn more than paramedics but money is not what I came into the job for. I do think we are classed as ambulance drivers in the eyes of the public still though.

Imnotmadeofeyes Sat 15-Mar-14 11:49:26

I agree with onesleep that morale and culture are the problem, along with staffing levels.

I think striking over pay when actually that's not the most pressing issue imho distracts from the real problem.

Pay for existing front line staff could be doubled and the problems making it a shit environment for staff and patients will still exist. I already know nurses who couldn't physically do more, going way over above and beyond to try to achieve the ridiculous tasks their incompetent managers require whilst shielding their patients as much as they can to provide a decent standard of care.

Don't get me wrong, 1% is an insult but it's not the problem or the solution.

whois Sat 15-Mar-14 11:49:56

I absolutely do not support a strike. Strikes hurt service users, not the government and are a sure way to turn public opinion against you.

HolidayArmadillo Sat 15-Mar-14 11:50:13

caroldecker'would you want to be treated at the hospital that paid the least so attracted the least motivated, most disillusioned staff. I don't think I would. That's how bad hospitals get worse although in principle I can see where the idea is coming from.

HolidayArmadillo Sat 15-Mar-14 11:52:04

I'mnot I agree with a lot of what you say. What can be done?

Misspixietrix Sat 15-Mar-14 11:57:08

Yes I would OP. NHS staff totally insulted chewed up and spat out by Jeremy Cunt this week.

ThePinkOcelot Sat 15-Mar-14 11:57:11

I think Yabu. Whenever the NHS is mentioned with regards to pay etc it's always nurses who get the pity for the such hard work they do for little reward. Nurses are not the only people in the NHS. What about administration staff and secretaries. We never ever get a mention. We are in fact going through an admin review and are in the process of being downgraded. Apparently we don't deserve the banding we are now on. How shit is that?! Whilst I have every sympathy with nurses, they are certainly no the worst done by.

HolidayArmadillo Sat 15-Mar-14 12:08:33

Thepink I'd totally support your right to strike as well and do appreciate the work you do, a good ward clerk is worth their weight in gold! there is nothing they don't know!!

Mycatistoosexy Sat 15-Mar-14 12:16:36

I would support a strike. If all else has failed, the only thing left is your labour.

You are key workers. You should be paid a wage that reflects inflation and offers financial stability. You provide a service to the country and should be remunerated accordingly.

Imnotmadeofeyes Sat 15-Mar-14 12:19:35

Honestly? I'm a commie at heart and would love to see the RCN support and facilitate protests and campaigns. The problem I see is that a lot of middle management upwards are in the same union so it's a massive conflict for them.

Again in my very, very humble opinion the late nineties/early nougties push to get clinicians in senior positions hasn't aged well. I get the logic, but the requirements of those positions have changed hugely leading to massive swathes of the nhs being run by people who don't have the talent or knowledge, and are therefore managing in fear and arrogance. My heart literally sank at the introduction of CCG's. I'm sure they're made up of incredibly talented clinicians on the whole, but not everyone can be Alan Sugar and they're just playing at knowing what they're doing. Half will be concentrating on patient care and half will be overwhelmed by the figures they're dealing with - bad decisions will almost certainly be very regularly made. That's not even touching the unscrupulous members. My old employing trust has never failed to make a mention when scamming GP's have come to light.

I think the reason it's become so ingrained is the frontline is never listened to on mass. The CEO's are the ones to comment, you hear very differently from staff lower down the chain. As an example there was a coder in the paper recently who had whistle blown on the fact she had been told and was expected as a matter of fact to fudge the figures. From my experience working in the nhs I can well believe it but it's not the scandal it should be, with everyone with similar experiences questioning why this is so common. Similar stories came out about the rtt pathway and were dealt with nice and quietly.

The nhs need a truely neutral and focused outside body to resolve staff and patient concerns. How can real improvements be made when it's easier to pass the buck to the weakest target to blame and then quietly go back to business as usual? How can anyone in such a huge organisation draw attention to potential problems that could be nipped in the bud when the organisation itself stops things at 'informal resolutions' time and time again with no one higher up taking an interest due to following the proper channels of complaints and concerns so things have to reach criminal or legal limits before anything might get done.

Sorry for going on blush, I'm just a huge fan of the nhs and the stuff I saw and heard whilst I worked there disillusioned me massively in any hopes it was fixable.

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