Nurses set to hold biggest-ever strike
The biggest nursing strike in NHS history is set to take place before Christmas. The Royal College of Nursing is campaigning for a pay rise of 5 per cent above inflation.The pay rise earlier in the year of £1,400, leaves nurses £1,000 a year worse off in real terms, and pay has not kept up with inflation over the past decade for many staff.
The prospect of nurses across the NHS taking strike action over pay will be a huge challenge to prime minister Rishi Sunak and chancellor Jeremy Hunt, who are confronted with a fiscal hole in the nation’s finances of up to £50bn.
The RCN had recommended to its 300,000 members that they walk out. If strikes take place, they would affect non-urgent but not emergency care.
The vote has involved a series of individual workplace-based ballots across the UK and if nurses do not back action at a local level it is possible some hospitals and services will not be involved.
The government had appealed to nurses to "carefully consider" the impact on patients. Pat Cullen, RCN general secretary and chief executive, said: "Huge numbers of staff - both experienced and newer recruits - are deciding they cannot see a future in a nursing profession that is not valued nor treated fairly.