THE first phase of strike action has been confirmed as nurses across the North will strike this December after the UK government rejected an offer of formal negotiations.

The Royal College of Nurses confirmed strike action will take place on the 15th and 20th December in the North of Ireland, England and Wales. This is set to be the biggest strike in NHS history. 

The historical decision marks the first time the RCN have balloted for strike action in its 106-year history. The union has stated the first phase will commence after the UK government turned down an offer of “formal, detailed negotiations as an alternative to strikes".

 

A list of employers where strike actions will be taking place will be announced next week. It has been confirmed that “not all members at employers where there is a mandate to strike” will be called on the first two dates this December. The strike action will be occurring in phases, with Phase One being the first of what could be a much longer period of strike action.

Following the initial strike action in December, another phase could be announced if the UK government do not enter info formal negotiations.

The Union has said that the strike is not just about a dispute over pay but also patient safety. The RCN said “staffing levels are so low that patient care is being compromised". The Union continued “only be paying nursing staff fairly will we recruit and retain people in our profession".

RCN General Secretary & Chief Executive Pat Cullen said: "Ministers have had more than two weeks since we confirmed that our members felt such injustice that they would strike for the first time. 

"My offer of formal negotiations was declined and instead ministers have chosen strike action. They have the power and the means to stop this by opening serious talks that address our dispute. 

"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."