Nurses strikes: Union threatens its biggest walkout to date in England


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More nurses strikes that would see twice as many workers take action will be announced for February if talks with the government do not progress soon, union bosses have warned.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) union said that new walkouts would be announced should negotiations over pay remain stalled by the end of January.

It would see all eligible members in England go on strike for the first time, making it the RCN’s biggest to date.

RCN general secretary Pat Cullen insisted the public backed the nurses in their pay dispute with the government, blaming the prime minister for his “baffling” approach to the negotiations.

The union initially demanded a pay rise of 19%, though has indicated it may accept 10%, but Downing Street is instead reportedly considering a one-off payment.

With no sign of a breakthrough, Rishi Sunak‘s administration is pushing for new anti-strike laws that would require minimum levels of service on walkout days.

Ms Cullen said ministers risked forcing nurses to quit the health service en masse.

“The nurse shortage costs lives – Sunak cannot put a price on a safe NHS,” she said.

Read more:
All you need to know about January’s strikes
A history of strike action and what they’ve achieved

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Have previous strikes been successful?

6 February earmarked for potential strike

Members would likely take action on 6 February, the RCN said, to coincide with the 10th anniversary of an inquiry that looked into how nurse shortages impacted patient mortality.

The Robert Francis inquiry, which was focused on Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust, uncovered the neglect of hundreds of patients at Stafford Hospital between 2005 and 2009

Some elderly people were left lying in their own urine, unable to eat, drink or take essential medication.

Mr Francis has warned that the…


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