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Pay dispute: Michael Rosen '100%’ supports nurses’ right to strike

Author Michael Rosen called for better pay for nurses at a coronavirus remembrance service after expressing gratitude for care he received when he had COVID-19

Author Michael Rosen called for better pay for nurses at a coronavirus remembrance service after expressing gratitude for care he received when he had COVID-19

Author and broadcaster Michael Rosen says he supports nurses’ right to strike as he ‘can't bear’ seeing nurses being underpaid.

Author gave his support to nurses at coronavirus remembrance service

The former children’s laureate made the remark after reading an extract from his 2021 book about COVID-19, Many Different Kinds of Love: a Story of Life, Death and the NHS, at a coronavirus remembrance service attended by hundreds of bereaved relatives and key workers on 11 October in London.

Mr Rosen spent 40 days in a medically induced coma in March 2020

Author Michael Rosen called for better pay for nurses at a coronavirus remembrance service after expressing gratitude for care he received when he had COVID-19

Author and broadcaster Michael Rosen
Michael Rosen Picture: Alamy

Author and broadcaster Michael Rosen says he supports nurses’ right to strike as he ‘can't bear’ seeing nurses being underpaid.

Author gave his support to nurses at coronavirus remembrance service

The former children’s laureate made the remark after reading an extract from his 2021 book about COVID-19, Many Different Kinds of Love: a Story of Life, Death and the NHS, at a coronavirus remembrance service attended by hundreds of bereaved relatives and key workers on 11 October in London.

Mr Rosen spent 40 days in a medically induced coma in March 2020 after COVID-19 caused him to develop a microbleed on his brain which has left him deaf in his left ear, blind in his left eye and without feeling in his toes.

Speaking after the ceremony at Westminster Abbey, Mr Rosen said he became a fellow of the RCN in June and supported NHS workers’ right to strike.

‘I support them 100%. Their pay is just… I can’t bear thinking about it. The kinds of privations they have to go through in order to train and then the schedules and the work they’re doing – they need to be much, much better rewarded,’ he said.

‘It’s amazing they can put up with it and put up with it for so long.’

‘You feel you owe your very existence to these people’

Mr Rosen, who spoke of his gratitude for nurses at this year’s RCN congress, recalled acts of kindness in his patient diary including when nurses sung him happy birthday at his bedside for his 74th birthday while he was ‘dead to the world’.

‘Gratitude doesn’t express it really, it’s just beyond gratitude, you feel you owe your very existence to these people,’ he said.

‘It’s just a job, is the way they think about it – “we go to work and we do this” – and yet they did so many things beyond that.’

More than 200,000 people attended the service to remember those who had died due to coronavirus.

RCN members are currently being balloted on strike action over this year’s pay offer of 4% in England and Wales and 5% in Scotland. Nurses in Northern Ireland are yet to receive a formal pay offer but are joining the ballot.


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