The Health Secretary Steve Barclay has said he is “saddened” by Royal College of Nursing (RCN) union decision to strike, saying that this is in “nobody’s best interests.”
Barclay said the pay demands are “neither reasonable nor affordable” and then warned that this will “turbocharge inflation” at the same time the Chancellor is trying to keep the economy under control amid the threat of a recession.
Barclay wrote in the Sunday Telegraph, “Yet the RCN is demanding a massive pay rise of 17.6%; an increase that is simply neither reasonable nor affordable.
“It is about three times the average settlement that millions of hard-working people, including many Sunday Telegraph readers, working outside the public sector will typically receive.
“Huge settlements like these would turbocharge inflation when we are endeavouring to keep it under control.
“It will have an adverse impact on people’s incomes in the long run.”
He continued, “If the RCN does go ahead with industrial action, I will make sure that emergency services continue to operate for those that need them most, and patients should continue to come forward for emergency services as normal.
“But it is inevitable that any strike would mean some patients will have their treatment delayed, and I would urge the unions to consider the impact on those who rely on the NHS for their care.
“We are facing a difficult winter for our whole country and industrial action is in nobody’s best interests.”