Government wins legal battle against nurses over strike action
Yesterday the Royal College of Nursing called off strict action due to be held on 2 May after a row over pay between the union and the Government.
Downing Street said it was “regrettable” that the Government had to take legal action.
Pat Cullen, the RCN general secretary, said it was the “darkest day” of the dispute so far.
She said: “They (the government) have won their legal battle today. But what this has led to is they have lost nursing and they’ve lost the public.
“They’ve taken the most trusted profession through the courts, by the least trusted people.
“And what a day for nursing. What a day for patients. And what an indictment on this government to do this to the very people that have held this NHS together, not just through the pandemic, but an NHS that has been run into the ground and in crisis, caused by this government.”
She criticised the Health Secretary and the Government for clapping for nurses only to leave the NHS to “crumble”.
She said: “This is no way to treat the nursing staff that he (Barclay) has stood personally and clapped for on steps, and now you slap the court order on them.”
She said it was with a “heavy heart” that strike action could continue in the lead-up to Christmas, adding: “If Steve Barclay continues to stay in the tunnel that he’s in, we will end up with strike action for the next six months because nursing staff are not going to step back now.”
It comes as train drivers are set to stage three fresh strikes including on the day of the FA cup final which will see fans travel to Wembley to watch Manchester City take on their derby rivals Manchester United.
Members of Aslef will walk out on May 12 and 31 – and when Wembley hosts Manchester City and Manchester United on June 3.
The union said it has rejected a “risible” 4 per cent pay offer from the 16 train companies it remains in dispute with.
General secretary Mick Whelan said drivers have not had a pay rise at those companies since 2019.
He said: “Our executive committee met this morning and rejected a risible proposal we received from the Rail Delivery Group (RDG).”
A Rail Delivery Group (RDG) spokesperson said: “This is disappointing news for our customers and staff, more strike action is totally unnecessary and will only heap more pressure on an industry already facing an acute financial crisis.
“Senselessly targeting both the final of Eurovision and the FA Cup final is disappointing for all those planning to attend.”
Meanwhile the joint general secretary of the National Education Union (NEU) has said the Government appears to be living in a “fantasy world” over school funding,
Dr Mary Bousted said striking teachers were “reasonable people” who want “a long-term correction in teachers’ pay” as NEU members staged a walkout yesterday.
Dr Bousted joined hundreds of striking teachers as they marched through the streets of Oxford as their long-running dispute over pay continues.