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Nurse who led historic RCN strike is nominated in National Campaigner Awards

RCN Northern Ireland director Pat Cullen is nominee in outstanding leadership category
Pat Cullen (centre) with striking nurses in December 2019

RCN Northern Ireland director Pat Cullen is nominee in outstanding leadership category

The nurse who led RCN members on their first strike in the colleges 103-year history has been nominated for an award.

RCN Northern Ireland director Pat Cullen is a nominee in the outstanding leadership category of the Sheila McKechnie Foundations National Campaigner Awards.

The awards recognise individuals who have enacted change effectively, creatively and courageously.

Demand for pay parity and safe-staffing concerns led to industrial action

Ms Cullen was nominated for leading RCN Northern Ireland members in a series of industrial action days in December 2019, which campaigned for nurses pay parity with colleagues in England and highlighted concerns over safe-staffing levels.

RCN Northern Ireland director Pat Cullen is nominee in outstanding leadership category


Pat Cullen (centre) with striking nurses in December 2019

The nurse who led RCN members on their first strike in the college’s 103-year history has been nominated for an award.

RCN Northern Ireland director Pat Cullen is a nominee in the outstanding leadership category of the Sheila McKechnie Foundation’s National Campaigner Awards.

The awards recognise individuals who have enacted change ‘effectively, creatively and courageously’.

Demand for pay parity and safe-staffing concerns led to industrial action 

Ms Cullen was nominated for leading RCN Northern Ireland members in a series of industrial action days in December 2019, which campaigned for nurses’ pay parity with colleagues in England and highlighted concerns over safe-staffing levels.


Pat Cullen

Commenting on her nomination, Ms Cullen said she was extremely honoured, but added that it was Northern Ireland’s nurses who had shown true leadership.

‘I would like to pay tribute to all of our members who bravely stood out on picket lines during the cold, wind and rain of the winter, in order to speak up for the patients they care for,’ she said.

‘This was unprecedented action for the RCN anywhere across the UK, and signals a turning point that nurses will not tolerate this happening again.’

At the time, pay for Northern Ireland’s nurses lagged behind the rest of the UK, with newly qualified nurses earning £22,795, while their counterparts in England and Wales started on £24,214.

Safe staffing was also a concern, with 2,800 NHS nurse vacancies in Northern Ireland at the time.

Following the industrial action, Northern Ireland nurses were offered pay parity and a commitment to implement a series of measures to improve safe staffing.

The winners of the Sheila McKechnie Foundation’s National Campaigner Awards will be announced at a virtual ceremony on 30 September.


Further information

The Sheila McKechnie Foundation National Campaigner Awards


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