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Northern Ireland: Nurses to strike for first time

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Action will begin on 3 December Action will begin on 3 December

Nurses working in Northern Ireland will take undertake strike action for the first time ever, the RCN have announced.

The organisation said its members were planning 12 hours of strike action, for the first in the RCN's history. Roughly 96% of members who returned their ballot papers voted to take industrial action and 92% voted to take action, involving strikes. The first day of industrial action will be Tuesday 3 December. Industrial action, short of strike action, will include declining to do any task that is not patient-specific. The first day of strike action will be 18 December.

‘Nurses are very disappointed that there has been no further meaningful engagement with the Department of Health regarding the safe staffing and pay crisis that we are facing in Northern Ireland,’ said Pat Cullen, Director of the RCN in Northern Ireland.

‘RCN Council has now approved a schedule of industrial action and strike action. Regrettably this will begin before the Christmas period. The first two weeks of action will be industrial action followed by our first day of strike on 18 December. We are now putting plans in place to determine how this will be managed and delivered.’

Examples of actions short of striking include:

  • Working no bank, overtime or agency shifts on days of industrial action
  • Not working unpaid hours
  • Not completing paper work other than individual patient records
  • No administrative tasks
  • Not collecting prescriptions or pharmacy in the community
  • Not collecting or delivering blood samples in the community

‘While no nurse wants to take this action, unfortunately we have been left with no choice and we are now carrying out the instructions that our members have clearly voted for. We will have further details on the impact this will have upon services closer to the time,’ said Ms Cullen.

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