Sir Keir Starmer has been criticised for his failure to back striking workers while taking questions live on the radio yesterday.
One listener on BBC Radio Humberside asked Sir Keir: “Why are you the leader of the Labour party when you can’t back striking workers?”
This comes in the wake of the Royal College of Nursing’s announcement that its members have voted to strike in a majority of NHS trusts.
In response to the listener’s question about his seemingly conflicting values, Sir Keir said: “The first thing is to say my mum was a nurse in the NHS, my sister was a nurse in the NHS, my mother-in-law was a doctor in the NHS and my wife works in the NHS.
“Everything to do with our family is in the NHS. I know just how hard-pressed the NHS is.
“Obviously the dispute was going on now, it’s about pay, it’s also about staff because there aren’t enough staff.
But he admitted: “Do I want industrial action? No, I don’t.
When pushed on whether or not he would allow his shadow cabinet to stand on the picket line with nurses, Sir Keir dodged the question, saying: “I find this a bit of a distraction.
General secretary of the RCN Pat Cullen said: “Anger has become action – our members are saying enough is enough.”
She said nurses had been getting a “raw deal” on pay for years, adding: “Ministers must look in the mirror and ask how long they will put nursing staff through this.”
The strike will be the first time UK-wide action is taken by RCN members in its 106-year history.
The Government in England and Wales gave NHS staff an average of 4.75 percent rise this year – with the lowest paid getting more.
The above summary was derived from the story linked below