Nurses marching on a TUC demonstration to defend the NHS

NURSES will strike across Britain on Thursday 15th & Tuesday 20th December, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) announced yesterday.

‘Strike action will happen in phases, meaning more strike dates could be announced after initial action in December.’

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.

‘RCN Wales Director Helen Whyley said: ‘We have to use our money wisely, it’s public money. We can afford to do this. When you pay nurses properly, they stay in work.

‘When they stay in work, patients stay in hospital for less time. That saves money. Patients have less harm come to them, that saves money, and patients stay at home longer, and that saves money.

‘But not only does it all save money, it is also absolutely crucial for the people in Wales to be able to access these services they want. I don’t buy that it’s not affordable. When you spend money on a pay rise, the government gets money back, so that argument just does not wash with me.

‘We hear there isn’t a bed, that’s not the case. Beds are bits of metal. What we don’t have is the staff, the nursing staff to look after the people that need to be in that bed.

‘Patients are waiting right now. If we tackle this issue, not just for the short term but for the long term, we can stop having these arguments for years to come. So this strike is all about patients and their care, and the effect that not paying nurses fairly has on those services.’