The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) union leader Pat Cullen has warned that nurses could strike “right up until Christmas.”
This comes as nurses will strike for 48 hours at the end of April and will withdraw all emergency care as the government’s “full and final” 5% pay rise offer was rejected.
The UK’s largest nursing union could result in a “mega strike” which means every nurse across every hospital will walk out in England for the first time in history.
The union leader has warned the Prime Minister Rishi Sunak that this “mega strike” could happen and Cullen will “ballot our members.”
Cullen was asked by the BBC if the union will stop strike action, she said, “No, our nurses will absolutely not do that. We have strike action for the end of this month and the beginning of May.
“Then we will move immediately to ballot our members.”
She added, “If that ballot is successful, it will mean further strike action right up until Christmas.”
IEA Labour Market Expert, Professor Len Shackleton warned the government that capitulating to nurse demands would set a dangerous precedent.
Professor Shackleton said, “The danger of a generous settlement with nurses is that other groups across the public sector, from junior doctors to firefighters, will want to follow – if not now, then at the next pay review round.
“The costs of our bloated public sector, already very difficult to control, will shoot through the roof.
“Given near-record borrowing, massive public debt, and ever-rising taxation, the government – probably any government – will try to offset a high pay settlement by cutting back on public spending.
“The government should focus on improving conditions for nurses to avoid setting the precedent for bank-breaking settlements in future. This could include forgiving some student debt, tweaking pension arrangements, scrapping hospital parking charges, and ending fees for revalidation with the Nursing and Midwifery Council.
“In future, we should reform the NHS to facilitate pay arrangements based on supply and demand for healthcare services in particular regions and localities.
“We should move away from the government trying to set wages centrally for nurses across the country.”
Labour’s Shadow Secretary Wes Streeting told Sky News, “I’d appeal to them, if they are going on strike, to continue to protect patient care.”
Speaking on BBC’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg, Streeting said he does not support the 48 hour strike action.
He said, “How could I? I mean there’s a risk to patient safety. It wouldn’t be the right thing to do.”