‘We have been ignored for too long!’ says nurses’ leader Cullen ahead of December strikes

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RCN members are determined to win their pay fight

‘We have been ignored for too long!’ says nurses’ leader Cullen ahead of December strikes

 

‘WHILE billions of pounds is being spent on temporary measures like agency staff to stick a plaster on the NHS workforce crisis, we are told a pay rise for nursing staff is unaffordable,’ RCN General Secretary and Chief Executive, Pat Cullen, said yesterday.
Cullen was leading the Royal College of Nursing response to Transport Secretary Mark Harper’s claims when he toured the TV and radio studios yesterday morning saying that public sector pay rises in line with inflation are ‘unaffordable’.
Cullen went on: ‘With 47,000 nurse vacancies in England’s NHS alone, a pay rise for nurses isn’t just about fair pay – it’s about retaining and recruiting enough nurses to safely care for patients.
‘Strike action is always a last resort but for too long we have been ignored.
‘Nursing staff won’t stand by while their patients are put in harm’s way – they are doing this for themselves and for their patients.’
Meanwhile, in a fresh exchange of letters on Saturday afternoon between RCN chief Pat Cullen and the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Steve Barclay, the union leader reiterated the call for negotiations to settle the dispute over NHS pay and patient safety.
Barclay asked for the RCN to ‘come back to the table’ on Saturday after it announced the first two dates of strike action for next month.
In an immediate response Cullen said the position of the union’s members remains ‘negotiations or nothing’.
Since the result of the ballot was made public two weeks ago, the RCN has sought detailed and formal negotiations with the government and has attended two meetings with the Health Secretary that did not focus on this year’s NHS pay dispute.
The full text of the letter from the RCN to the Health Secretary, read:
‘Dear Secretary of State,
‘Another day, another exchange of letters.
‘I’m afraid the position of my members is “negotiations or nothing”.
‘You cannot shut them out and then repeat that your door is open.
‘If the negotiation table is empty, we can see you are not serious about progress.
‘This dispute needs resolving and strike action is now little over a fortnight away.
‘On behalf of every nurse, let’s negotiate.
‘Yours sincerely,
‘Pat Cullen.’
Nurses will strike across Britain on Thursday 15th and Tuesday 20th December, the RCN announced last Friday.
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