The RCN has announced further strike action following a rejection of the government’s pay offer, which included a 5% raise and a one-off payment.
Pat Cullen – General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing – had encouraged nurses to accept the pay deal. But union members rejected the offer, with 54% voting against it.
According to the RCN strike action will begin this month, with a 48-hour strike beginning on 30 April at 8pm. Unlike the previous strikes, this action will not include any exemptions, and emergency departments, cancer treatment and intensive care wards will be included.
Pat Cullen has said that there will be a ballot following the strike, regarding future plans for the union, and has warned that the results could lead to strike actions continuing until Christmas.
The RCN leader has reached out to the government, requesting that new pay discussions take place as soon as possible, stating that a “historic pay award” is required. She has rejected minister’s calls for strike action to be halted.
Health secretary Steve Barclay has said that strike action will delay treatment and operations for patients. The BBC have reported that a letter sent by Mr Barclay to the RCN stated that the currentpay offer would mean nurses at the top of band 5 receiving “over £5000 extra”, but Pat Cullen has called the letter “disrespectful”.
The pay offer has already been accepted by Unison members, while the Unite and GMB unions will be announcing their ballot results later this month. Conservative party chairman Greg Hands told the BBC that the government would wait until all ballot results were announced, before deciding if the offer was final.
In a letter to Steve Barclay, Pat Cullen said: “The government needs to increase what has already been offered and we will be highly critical of any move to reduce it.”