Barclay says he has ‘no choice’ but to proceed with legal action to stop nurses’ strike

The well being secretary has utilized to the Excessive Court docket in an try to cease the newest strike motion deliberate by the Royal Faculty of Nursing.

The Royal Faculty of Nursing’s (RCN) deliberate strike motion, involving tens of 1000’s of nurses, is because of happen from 8 pm on Sunday evening till 8 pm on Tuesday 2 Might.

The motion will see nurses in emergency departments, intensive care and most cancers wards down instruments for the primary time.

However Steve Barclay, the well being secretary, has written to RCN normal secretary Pat Cullen, saying the union’s present six-month strike mandate runs out at midnight on 1 Might.


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The formal authorized problem marks a unprecedented escalation of the dispute between the RCN and the federal government. It comes after RCN members voted to reject the UK authorities’s newest NHS pay provide by 54 per cent to 46 per cent, with a turnout of 61% of eligible members. 

In a letter to Ms Cullen, Mr Barclay says: “My group mentioned to yours on Saturday that should you known as off Tuesday’s strike and would decide to applicable derogations over the weekend to guard affected person security, then we might not must go to Court docket. Given that you’ve got chosen not to take action, I intend to use to the Excessive Court docket to declare the motion you’ve gotten deliberate for Tuesday 2 Might illegal.

“I ought to word that, whereas you haven’t known as off the strike motion deliberate for Tuesday 2 Might, I do welcome the discussions between NHS England and the RCN about guaranteeing affected person security within the absence of pre-emptive derogations, like these agreed by the RCN in relation to earlier industrial motion. I hope these discussions proceed to be fruitful and productive”.

“I due to this fact regretfully offered discover of my intent to pursue authorized motion with a view to defending sufferers, NHS staff and RCN members while persevering with to hunt a method to resolve this by official channels”, he added. 

Ms Cullen has mentioned that such motion is “incorrect and indefensible” however “the risk sadly grew to become a actuality”.

In an electronic mail to members working for the NHS in England, she added: “The one method to cope with bullies is to face as much as them – together with in courtroom. It’s so incorrect for the federal government to make use of taxpayers’ cash to tug our occupation by the courts. We’re decided to point out that the nursing occupation is robust and decided and defend our members’ proper to strike.”

In an announcement launched after the information broke, Mr Barclay mentioned he had been “left with no alternative however to proceed with authorized motion”.

He added: “I firmly assist the precise to take industrial motion throughout the regulation – however the authorities can not stand by and let a plainly illegal strike motion go forward nor ignore the request of NHS Employers.

“We should additionally defend nurses by guaranteeing they don’t seem to be requested to participate in an illegal strike”.