UK nurses strike threat ends after union ballot


The threat of further strikes by British nurses ended on Tuesday, after the Royal College of Nursing said a ballot on industrial action had failed to meet the legal threshold.

The RCN said more than 100,000 members voted in favor of more strikes but turnout was only 43 percent—below the statutory minimum of 50 percent.

Nurses in England were voting on a six-month renewal of strike action, after turning down a five-percent government pay offer.

RCN general secretary Pat Cullen said in April that nurses were prepared to strike until Christmas if an improved offer could not be reached.

She acknowledged on Tuesday that the result would be disappointing but promised that the “fight for the fair pay and safe staffing our profession, our patients and our NHS deserve is far from over”.

Successive walk-outs by nurses have added to pressure on the state-run National Health Service (NHS), which is battling to cut waiting lists for appointments and treatment.

They were part of a wave of public and private sector strikes prompted by soaring inflation, and demands for wages to keep pace with the increased cost of living.

The health ministry called the nurses’ strikes “hugely disruptive” and called on other unions to end their disputes.

Hospital doctors in England last week announced a five-day strike for next month—the longest in the NHS’s 75-year history.

© 2023 AFP

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