I joined a lively picket line of striking nurses at University College Hospital on 18th Jan. It was more a demonstration than a picket line, as they weren’t actually trying to stop people from going in.
The majority were young women, but I talked to a few of the older nurses there, who told me that they were really concerned by the staff shortages. Many have left the job because it is too stressful trying to cover for staff vacancies. One striker said she thought nursing had a low status because it’s mainly seen as women’s work. None of the women I spoke to had ever been on strike before. They weren’t confident that they would win, but they saw their strikes as part of the fight to save the NHS.
Nurses need to be paid a decent starting salary to attract more people into the profession. They were very uplifted by the support they were getting from passers-by and the hoots from cars and buses.