The Health Secretary Steve Barclay has been told by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) “negotiate” on pay or it’s “nothing.”
Barclay has been accused of refusing to discuss the pay deal with nurses and they are preparing to strike on 25 to 20 December unless the Health Secretary caves in and gives them a 19% pay rise.
Barclay wrote to the RCN’s general secretary Pat Cullen urging all to “come back to the table” for talks to avert the strike next month.
Cullen quickly responded by letter saying she will only return for pay talks after members voted kn favour of industrial action.
Cullen wrote, “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.”
The Health Secretary wrote to Cullen to “express my deep regret that you have declined my offer of a meeting.”
“I want to reiterate what I have said previously: my door is open to discuss how to improve the working lives of nurses and other staff,” he added.
“I urge you to reconsider your position and come back to the table.
“I would once again like to make clear that I, my colleagues across Government, and indeed the public, value the care provided by nurses up and down this country and I am disappointed that you have taken this unprecedented step.”
An RCN spokesperson said, “This is gross scaremongering and many multiples of the accurate costs.”