Labour health spokesman says he would back NHS staff in strike action over pay


Labour’s shadow health secretary has said he will back NHS staff if they take industrial action over a 1 per cent pay offer from the government.

Jonathan Ashworth called on health secretary Matt Hancock to withdraw the offer and sit down with staff to discuss a multi-year settlement, which he said was essential to fill a 100,000 NHS vacancy gap.

And he said recruitment and retention of staff was a vital part of preparing the UK for future pandemics.

With epidemiologists warning that it will only be a matter of time before another novel illness hits, Mr Ashworth said it was no longer possible to run the NHS “on a shoestring” with little or no slack in the system to absorb unexpected demands.

Mr Ashworth’s comments come after a Savanta ComRes poll for The Independent found a majority of voters would support strike action by NHS nurses.


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