The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has given Health Secretary five days to begin negotiations over pay, or face strike action.
Following the Autumn Statement, RCN chief executive Pat Cullen has written to Mr Barclay calling for negotiations to begin concerning NHS pay and patient safety.
In the lette,r Ms Cullen said: ‘The government remains unprepared to give my members the support they need at work and at home.’
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If negotiations do not begin within the next five days, Ms Cullen warned the RCN would announce its’ strike dates and locations for December.
The Health Secretary met Ms Cullen earlier in the week, although issues surrounding pay were not resolved.
‘I must not let my members nor the public confuse these meetings for serious discussions on the issues of NHS pay and patient safety’ said Ms Cullen.
The RCN is calling for a pay rise of 5% above inflation, which Mr Barclay called unreasonable in an opinion article for the Sunday Telegraph.
Despite research commissioned by the RCN revealing that nurses’ pay had fallen by 20% in real term pay cuts since 2012.
Ms Cullen made clear of her expectations saying: ‘there is only value in meeting if you wish to discuss in formal negotiations the issues that have caused our members to vote for strike action.’
The RCN’s argument that paying nursing staff fairly is clear when billions of pounds is being spent on agency staff to plug workforce gaps.
As well as commissioned research by the RCN showing that the Exchequer would recoup 81% of the initial outlay of a significant pay rise in terms of higher tax receipts and savings on future recruitment and retention costs.