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Nurses Strikes Paused As Government And Union Agree To Enter Intensive Talks

Nurses on the picket line in winter strikes (Alamy)

2 min read

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has agreed to pause strikes while it takes part in new intensive talks with the government over pay and working conditions.

Thousands of nurses across England and Wales have already taken part in strike action over the winter.

The union leader Pat Cullen has previously urged the government to “get round the table and talk about pay” after the health secretary Steve Barclay insisted additional pay rises for nurses would be unaffordable. 

A joint statement from the Department of Health and Social Care and the Royal College of Nursing said: “The Government and Royal College of Nursing have agreed to enter a process of intensive talks. 

“Both sides are committed to finding a fair and reasonable settlement that recognises the vital role that nurses and nursing play in the National Health Service and the wider economic pressures facing the United Kingdom and the Prime Minister’s priority to halve inflation. 

“The talks will focus on pay, terms and conditions, and productivity enhancing reforms.

“The Health Secretary will meet with the Royal College of Nursing on Wednesday to begin talks. The Royal College of Nursing will pause strike action during these talks.”

The RCN have repeatedly called for a pay award that goes 5 per cent above the rate of inflation (RPI), arguing that this pay increase would rectify years of real-terms pay cuts.

Nurses on picket lines have cited a staff retention crisis in the NHS as one of their primary reasons for joining industrial action. 

Meanwhile, junior doctors have this week voted to strike over pay, with members of the British Medical Association (BMA) now expected to walk out for several days as early as mid-March.

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