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We will strike again

Pat Cullen 21 Apr 2023 Chief Executive and General Secretary

Pat Cullen sets out plans for 48-hours of industrial action.

In the seven days since the majority of England RCN members voted to reject the government’s offer, we have made the major move to relaunch and re-energise our campaign and strike action. You may have seen lots of speculation in the news and it’s important you hear from me and the RCN to be certain of what we’re doing. 

Let me start with Wales: just yesterday, after a long period of extensive negotiations, the RCN team has secured a further revised NHS pay offer for Wales for 2022-23 and a new pay offer for 2023-24. The Welsh Government has been clear this is its best and final offer, and eligible members in Wales will be asked if they accept or reject the offer in a consultative ballot which will run from 12 noon on Monday 24 April until 9am on Wednesday 10 May. Please read our news story for the latest information.

In England, we are preparing for a fresh round of industrial action – our biggest yet – with a 48-hour strike due to take place from 8pm on 30 April, this time, without derogations. 

You may have seen news yesterday that NHS Employers is seeking to question our strike action on 2 May, claiming the mandate to strike will have run out. We will firmly oppose this, and our plans remain the same – we would never ask you to do anything illegal. RCN members working in the NHS in England at workplaces with a strike mandate will continue to take strike action from 8pm or the start of the night shift on 30 April to 8pm or the start of the night shift on 2 May. If a court says anything different, we will let you know. 

You made it clear that the offer on the table was neither fair nor reasonable. We know that fair pay is vital to begin addressing the fundamental issues within the NHS in England and not enough was put forward. 

Your historic strike action to date must be recognised with a significant pay award and you have clearly delivered that message to the people who can make this happen. I congratulate you on your strength throughout the recent consultation and I urge you to keep tight hold of this energy as you prepare to strike again. 

I’d like to remind you that our strike fund is here to support you, and the public is behind you, as demonstrated just this week in a poll. 

It was an absolute honour to meet so many of you in our recent online event where we discussed the ballot results and talked about next steps. I will never shy away from difficult conversations, and I appreciate your honesty, your willingness to engage in respectful dialogue and your determination to help forge the future of nursing. You can watch the event back here any time

We are laying the foundations for an England-wide statutory ballot too to extend the scope and duration of the current mandate for strike action, launching next month. 

By law, the upcoming statutory industrial action ballot must be carried out by post. Whether you’re prepared to take strike action or not, it’s essential that your postal address, job, workplace and all other details are up to date for you to have your say, so please do take a moment to check the information we hold is correct

RCN Scotland Director Colin Poolman has called on the Scottish Government to prioritise building a sustainable nursing workforce to meet Scotland’s needs. This was in response to Scotland’s new First Minister setting out his priorities for the next three years. 

There’s just one week to go until the window closes to nominate a colleague or team in one of the 15 categories in the RCN Nursing Awards. Let’s celebrate the brilliance, diversity and achievements of our profession – you can discover more about these exciting awards

With Congress just a matter of weeks away, we’ve revealed the full Learning and Wellbeing programme and soon, will announce our keynote speakers. Whether you’re a student member or have been in nursing for decades, we want to welcome you to RCN Congress where you can influence the future of our College’s work, and that of our profession. Book your place and discover more about what to expect this year by visiting our website.  

Colleagues, you deserve better and your patients deserve better. It’s now up to the government to listen, act with integrity and demonstrate respect by stepping up and looking seriously at how to pay you fairly. 

Pat Cullen

Pat Cullen

General Secretary and Chief Executive

Pat has worked at the RCN since 2016. Before being appointed General Secretary and Chief Executive, Pat was Director of RCN Northern Ireland from May 2019 to April 2021.

Page last updated - 21/04/2023