February 5, 2023

Thousands of nurses in England will go on strike again next month over wages.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) announced that nurses would strike on January 18 and 19 and said further dates would be confirmed in the new year.

Pat Cullen, head of the union, said: “The government had a chance to end this dispute before Christmas, but instead they chose to push nursing staff out into the cold again in January.”

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She added: “I don’t want to prolong this dispute, but the Prime Minister has left us no choice.”

A separate strike that hit the NHS this month has been called off.

The planned strike of ambulance personnel on December 28 has been suspended, trade union GMB reports.

Shortly before the RCN announcement, Rishi Sunak, the Prime Minister, said yes “sad and disappointed” that strikes threaten to disrupt Christmas holidays.

Hundreds of thousands of workers in many sectors of the economy have gone on strike or plan to strike this winter as unions seek wage increases for their members amid the cost of living crisis and rising inflation.

The RCN said the strikes will only take place in England next month if the strike action is to be extended.

Members of the RCN in England, Wales and Northern Ireland staged their largest ever strike on December 15 and 20.

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PM: Govt acted ‘reasonably’ on strikes

Nurses and other nursing staff walked out in half of the locations in England where the legal mandate for strikes was set in November.

There were also strikes at every NHS employer in Wales but one and across Northern Ireland.

Strike action is ‘right thing to do for patients and NHS’

Ms Cullen said the public’s support was “heartwarming”, adding that she is “more convinced than ever” that further strike action is the “right thing to do for patients and the future of the NHS”.

“The voice of nursing will not be ignored. Staff shortages and low wages make patient care unsafe – the sooner ministers get to the negotiating table, the sooner this can be resolved. I won’t dig, if they don’t dig,” she said.

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Read more:
Strikes every day before Christmas – which sectors are affected and why
How A&E and other NHS services will be affected

The RCN previously said the number of affected NHS employers would increase next month unless negotiations were held.

Nurses in Scotland announced that they would go on strike in early 2023 after members of the RCN “overwhelmingly” rejected the Scottish Government’s latest pay offer.

Nurses 20% worse off in real terms

The RCN said that despite the £1,400 reward this year, experienced nurses were there 20% worse off in real terms due to successive awards under inflation since 2010.

It has called for a wage increase of 5% above RPI inflation, saying the economic case for paying nursing staff fairly is clear when billions of pounds are spent on agency workers to fill gaps in the workforce.

The RCN said 25,000 nurses in the UK left the Nursing and Midwifery Council register in the past year, with 47,000 unfilled registered nursing posts in the UK NHS alone.

The union said industrial action is a last resort, adding that it is committed to negotiating better wage deals with governments before going on strike if the dispute cannot be resolved.

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