Nurses Join Other Striking UK Staff In December Walkouts

Nurses across most of Britain will next month hold the first strikes in their union’s 106-year history, joining a host of other UK workers taking industrial action over pay.

Staff in England, Wales and Northern Ireland — but not Scotland — will walk out on December 15 and 20, after the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) union said the government had turned down an offer of negotiations.

It will be the latest industrial action in Britain, where decades-high inflation and a cost-of-living crisis has prompted staff in various sectors to demand pay rises to keep up with spiralling prices.

The nurses’ strike will be sandwiched between the first of a series of two-day walkouts by national railway workers, while postal service employees will stage fresh stoppages in the run-up to Christmas.

Numerous other public and private sector staff, from lawyers to airport ground personnel, have also held strikes this year.

“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,” said RCN head Pat Cullen.

The union, which wants a pay rise significantly above inflation, announced earlier this month that a ballot of its more than 300,000 members had found a majority in favour of strikes.

“Ministers have had more than two weeks since we confirmed that our members felt such injustice that they would strike for the first time,” Cullen said, adding that an offer of formal negotiations was declined.

“They have the power and the means to stop this by opening serious talks that address our dispute.”

The RCN will next week announce which particular arms of Britain’s sprawling state-funded National Health Service (NHS) will be affected by the walkouts.


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