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First dates announced for nurses’ strike action in December

RCN say first strikes to take place on Thursday 15 and Tuesday 20 December in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, with strike dates on hold in Scotland

RCN say first strikes to take place on Thursday 15 and Tuesday 20 December in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, with strike dates on hold in Scotland

Nurses are set to take to picket lines over two days in December, kicking off the biggest nursing strike in NHS history.

The RCN has announced its first strikes will take place on Thursday 15 and Tuesday 20 December in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Strike dates in Scotland have been put on hold following ‘positive’ pay talks between unions and the government.

‘Ministers have chosen strike action,’ say RCN

The union will reveal next week which NHS employers will see nurses walk out when formal notifications are submitted.

RCN say first strikes to take place on Thursday 15 and Tuesday 20 December in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, with strike dates on hold in Scotland

The first nurse strikes will take place on Thursday 15 and Tuesday 20 December in England, Wales and Northern Ireland
Picture: Apex

Nurses are set to take to picket lines over two days in December, kicking off the biggest nursing strike in NHS history.

The RCN has announced its first strikes will take place on Thursday 15 and Tuesday 20 December in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Strike dates in Scotland have been put on hold following ‘positive’ pay talks between unions and the government.

‘Ministers have chosen strike action,’ say RCN

The union will reveal next week which NHS employers will see nurses walk out when formal notifications are submitted.

It comes after the RCN gave the Government five days to come to the table on pay negotiations after chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s Autumn Statement failed to address concerns around pay.

RCN general secretary 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.

‘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.’

Tens of thousands of nurses have voted to strike in a long-running dispute over pay and patient safety concerns. Staff in England and Wales have been offered a 4% pay rise, but the RCN has been campaigning for a rise of 5% above the Retail Prices Index measure of inflation which is currently running at 14.2%.

Health secretary Steve Barclay insists pay demands are not affordable

The RCN said the economic argument for paying nursing staff fairly is ‘clear’ when billions of pounds are being spent on agency staff to plug workforce gaps.

Health and social care secretary Steve Barclay has continued to insist the RCN’s pay demands are not affordable.

‘I am hugely grateful for the hard work and dedication of nurses and deeply regret some union members will be taking industrial action,’ he said.

‘We have prioritised the NHS with an extra £6.6 billion, on top of previous record funding, and accepted the recommendations of the independent NHS Pay Review Body to give nurses a fair pay rise of at least £1,400 this year.

‘This means a newly qualified nurse will typically earn over £31,000 a year – with more senior nurses earning much more than that. They will also receive a pension contribution worth 20% of their salary.’

Meanwhile, the Department of Health and Social Care claims there are a record number nurses working in the NHS in England, with the latest NHS Digital data showing there are 9,300 more nurses compared to September 2021.

It adds the Government is on track to deliver on its promise of recruiting 50,000 more nurses by 2024, with around 32,000 more nurses working in hospitals and general practice in September 2022 than in September 2019.


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