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RCN announces pre-Christmas strike dates

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Members of the Royal College of Nursing will go on strike on Thursday 15 and Tuesday 20 December

Members of the Royal College of Nursing will go on strike on Thursday 15 and Tuesday 20 December.

The announcement comes after the Government refused to take part in formal and detailed negotiations with the RCN to come up with an alternative to strike action.

Chief Executive, Pat Cullen said: ‘My offer of formal negotiations was declined and instead ministers have chosen strike action. They have the power and the means to stop this by opening serious talks that address our dispute.’

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The strikes will happen in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Which particular NHS employers will take action will be announced next week.

Last week, Health Secretary Steve Barclay, claimed that nurses going on strike was in ‘nobody’s best interests’.

Mr Barclay called the RCN’s demand for a pay rise of 17.6%, ‘unaffordable’ and ‘unreasonable’.

Despite research commissioned by the RCN showing that experienced nurses’ pay had fallen by 20% in real terms since 2010.

‘Nursing staff have had enough of being taken for granted, enough of low pay and unsafe staffing levels, enough of not being able to give our patients the care they deserve,’ said Ms Cullen.

The RCN argues that the Government already pay billions of pounds to agencies to plug workforce gaps therefore paying nurses more will reduce the amount needed to be spent on agency staff.

Chief Executive of the NHS Confederation, Matthew Taylor responded to the news saying that the expectation still remained for urgent, emergency and critical care services to continue during these days.

He said: ‘This is not a decision that they (RCN) will have taken lightly and to avoid a prolonged war of attrition, we hope there will be a negotiated resolution of the issues trade unions have raised without delay.’

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