NHS strike: nurses next walkout to double in size

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has threatened to pull more nurses into participating in strike action next month in a bid to raise pressure on the government.

Unless pay talks are re-opened, nurses from over more than 70 NHS trusts in England, are set to go on strike on 18th and 19th January.woman in blue shirt wearing white mask

However, if their walkout this month still results in their demands not being met, the RCN claims strikes that will take place in February will include all eligible members in England for the first time.

The nursing organisation are pushing for staff to receive a pay rise 5% above inflation rates, which are currently sat at 14%, however reports have claimed the union would accept 10%.

Although, the government says the demands are unaffordable and pay rises were decided by independent pay review bodies.

The decision to involve more nurses in strike action comes after Business Secretary, Grant Shapps, set out plans to enforce minimum service levels during strike action.

Under the bill, some employees would be required to work during a strike and could be sacked if they refuse. Mr Shapps said the aim was to protect lives and livelihoods.

However, the bill, which was published last Tuesday, sparked unions to revolt. Authorities called it ‘undemocratic, unworkable and almost certainly illegal.’

Additionally, Health Secretary, Steve Barclay, met with health unions last week to discuss the disputes surrounding the NHS staff pay offer for 2022-23. Failing to provide nurses with a 10% raise and only offering a one-off payment, the RCN ruled ministers still have a ‘distance to travel’ when it comes to the issue.

General Secretary of the RCN, Pat Cullen, said: ‘The Prime Minister gave nursing staff little optimism that he was beginning to move, but seven days later he appears entirely uninterested in finding a way to stop this. Nursing staff just want to be valued and recognised.’

The RCN has said the next strike is likely to be 6th February to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the Robert Francis inquiry into Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust and the impact of nurse shortages on patient mortality. The inquiry covered patients neglect between 2005 and 2009, where some elderly people were left in their own urine, unable to eat or take essential medication.

As well as England, nurses in Wales are also expected to strike in February following a month without industrial action.

Photo by Ehimetalor Akhere Unuabona


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