Health Secretary Steve Barclay insists nurses get ‘fair’ pay rise as strike dates announced – British Politics Live |  Policy

Health Secretary Steve Barclay insists nurses get ‘fair’ pay rise as strike dates announced – British Politics Live | Policy

Royal Mail workers and university lecturers are again on strike today in long running disputes over pay, pensions, jobs and conditions, PA Media reports. PA says:

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Members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) and University and College Union (UCU) walked out on Thursday for 48 hours, with more action planned in the coming weeks.

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Picket lines were again mounted outside universities and Royal Mail centres across the country on Black Friday- one of the busiest shopping days of the year.

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Good morning. Another day, another strike, because overnight the Royal College of Nursing has set the date for two, 12-hour nursing strikes in December that will affect most of the UK. My colleagues Andrew Gregory and Jamie Grierson have the details here.

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Pat Cullen, the RCN general secretary, accused Steve Barclay, the health secretary, of being intransigent. She said:

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If Barclay wishes to meet with me, get round the table and stop the spin and start to speak, he can avert these strikes. My door is wide open night and day. I will make myself available, as will my team on behalf of our nursing staff. That option isn’t available to me at this time and consequently he has chosen strikes over speaking to me.

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But in tweets this morning Barclay insisted that he was available for talks.

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Our priority is keeping patients safe. The NHS has tried and tested plans in place to minimise disruption and ensure emergency services continue to operate but inevitably strike action will have an impact on services.

— Steve Barclay (@SteveBarclay) November 25, 2022

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My door remains open to @theRCN if they want to discuss ways we can improve nurses’ working lives.

— Steve Barclay (@SteveBarclay) November 25, 2022

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However, he also defended the pay offer already on the table as “fair”.

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We have accepted the recommendations of the independent NHS Pay Review Body to give nurses a fair pay rise of at least £1,400 this year. This means a newly qualified nurse will typically earn over £31,000 a year

— Steve Barclay (@SteveBarclay) November 25, 2022

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I’ll post more on this shortly. Here is the agenda for the day.

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9.30am: MPs debate backbench bill, starting with Liam Fox’s electricity and gas transmission (compensation) bill.

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10am: Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, addresses the Poverty Alliance conference in Glasgow.

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11.30am: Downing Street holds a lobby briefing.

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Lunchtime: Keir Starmer is doing a visit in Birmingham.

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I try to monitor the comments below the line (BTL) but it is impossible to read them all. If you have a direct question, do include “Andrew” in it somewhere and I’m more likely to find it. I do try to answer questions and, if they are of general interest, I will post the question and reply above the line (ATL), although I can’t promise to do this for everyone.

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If you want to attract my attention quickly, it is probably better to use Twitter. I’m on @AndrewSparrow.

“,”elementId”:”5fe8891b-ece0-4aad-8f44-f8ea893f1955″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

Alternatively, you can email me at andrew.sparrow@theguardian.com

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Key events

Strikes by Royal Mail and university teachers continue

Royal Mail workers and university professors are on strike again today in long-running disputes over pay, pensions, jobs and conditions, PA Media reports. PA says:

Members of the Communications Workers Union (CWU) and the Universities and Colleges Union (UCU) went on strike for 48 hours on Thursday, with more actions planned in the coming weeks.

Pickets were again set up outside universities and Royal Mail centers across the country on Black Friday, one of the busiest shopping days of the year.

Health Secretary Steve Barclay insists nurses get ‘fair’ pay rise as strike dates are announced

Hello. Another day, another strike, because overnight the Royal College of Nursing has set the date for two 12-hour nursing strikes in December that will affect most of the UK. My colleagues Andre Gregoire and Jamie Grierson get the details here.

Pat Cullen, the general secretary of the RCN, has accused Steve Barclay, the health secretary, of being intransigent. She says:

If Barclay wants to meet me, walk around the table and stop pirouetting and start talking, he can avoid those strikes. My door is wide open night and day. I will make myself and my team available on behalf of our healthcare staff. This option is not available to me at the moment and therefore he chose strikes over talking to me.

But in the tweets this morning Barclay insisted he was available for interviews.

Our priority is keeping patients safe. The NHS has tried and tested plans in place to minimise disruption and ensure emergency services continue to operate but inevitably strike action will have an impact on services.

— Steve Barclay (@SteveBarclay) November 25, 2022

\n”,”url”:”https://twitter.com/SteveBarclay/status/1596039767040622592″,”id”:”1596039767040622592″,”hasMedia”:false,”role”:”inline”,”isThirdPartyTracking”:false,”source”:”Twitter”,”elementId”:”723bfec3-a039-4bdd-9476-f654adcf7847″}}”>

Our priority is to ensure patient safety. The NHS has proven plans in place to minimize disruption and ensure emergency services continue to operate, but inevitably strikes will impact services.

—Steve Barclay (@SteveBarclay) November 25, 2022

My door remains open to @theRCN if they want to discuss ways we can improve nurses’ working lives.

— Steve Barclay (@SteveBarclay) November 25, 2022

\n”,”url”:”https://twitter.com/SteveBarclay/status/1596041338092687360″,”id”:”1596041338092687360″,”hasMedia”:false,”role”:”inline”,”isThirdPartyTracking”:false,”source”:”Twitter”,”elementId”:”6d61b612-e210-4248-80ec-8b0a1fa28fad”}}”>

My door remains open to @theRCN if they want to discuss ways to improve the working lives of nurses.

—Steve Barclay (@SteveBarclay) November 25, 2022

However, he also defended the wage offer already on the table as “fair”.

We have accepted the recommendations of the independent NHS Pay Review Body to give nurses a fair pay rise of at least £1,400 this year. This means a newly qualified nurse will typically earn over £31,000 a year

— Steve Barclay (@SteveBarclay) November 25, 2022

\n”,”url”:”https://twitter.com/SteveBarclay/status/1596045055835471873″,”id”:”1596045055835471873″,”hasMedia”:false,”role”:”inline”,”isThirdPartyTracking”:false,”source”:”Twitter”,”elementId”:”04a66942-45e0-4d07-b40c-7978aa5382a8″}}”>

We have accepted recommendations from the independent NHS pay review body to give nurses a fair pay rise of at least £1,400 this year. This means a newly qualified nurse will typically earn over £31,000 a year

—Steve Barclay (@SteveBarclay) November 25, 2022

I will post more about this shortly. Here is the program for the day.

9:30 a.m.: MPs are debating a backbench bill, starting with Liam Fox’s Electricity and Gas Transmission (Compensation) Bill.

10 a.m.: Nicola Sturgeon, Scottish First Minister, addresses the Poverty Alliance conference in Glasgow.

11:30 a.m.: Downing Street holds a lobby briefing.

Lunch time: Keir Starmer is visiting Birmingham.

I try to monitor comments below the line (BTL) but it’s impossible to read them all. If you have a direct question, include “Andrew” somewhere and I’m more likely to find it. I try to answer questions, and if they’re of general interest, I’ll post the question and answer above the line (ATL), although I can’t promise to do this for everyone.

If you want to get my attention quickly, it’s probably best to use Twitter. I’m on it @AndrewSparrow.

You can also email me at andrew.sparrow@theguardian.com

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