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Nurses to strike for two days as December disruption deepens | Industrial action


The Royal Faculty of Nursing (RCN) has introduced its members will stage nationwide strikes – the primary in its 106-year historical past – on 15 and 20 December, with motion anticipated to final for 12 hours on each days.

The unprecedented industrial motion will critically disrupt care and is prone to be the primary in a sequence of strikes over the winter and into the spring by NHS workers, together with junior docs and ambulance staff.

The union stated ministers had not taken up the supply of formal talks for the reason that poll outcome over a fortnight in the past and so “chosen strike motion”.

RCN’s basic secretary, Pat Cullen, stated: “They’ve the facility and the means to cease this by opening critical talks that deal with our dispute.

“Nursing workers have had sufficient of being taken as a right, sufficient of low pay and unsafe staffing ranges, sufficient of not having the ability to give our sufferers the care they deserve.”

It got here as postal staff, college workers and Scottish schoolteachers went on strike on Thursday, whereas rail unions reaffirmed plans for eight days of nationwide strikes regardless of a “optimistic” assembly with ministers.

The dates deliberate for strikes are clustered across the week earlier than the Christmas holidays start, when demand can be excessive for eating places and retail as workplace occasion season peaks and buying exercise surges. The primary nurses’ strike on 15 December will come within the coronary heart of a deliberate week of rail strikes by the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union, on 13-14 and 16-17 December, and on the second day of a 48-hour walkout by the Communication Employees Union (CWU) on the Royal Mail, on 14-15 December.


Though unions have stated there are not any plans for basic strikes, a number of have talked of coordinating industrial motion to maximise disruption and political influence. The RMT chief, Mick Lynch, has known as for “a wave of motion” on behalf of low-paid staff, a phrase echoed by the TUC’s basic secretary, Frances O’Grady, though she stated synchronisation was not all the time essentially the simplest technique.

After a gathering with transport secretary, Mark Harper, on Thursday, Lynch stated the minister had “began a dialogue”, and “removed the bellicose nonsense” underneath current predecessor Grant Shapps.

Nonetheless, Lynch dominated out calling off the eight days of strikes in December and January. He stated: “If we name off the strikes, we’ll by no means get a settlement … My members gained’t forgive me. I’ve given a dedication – till we get a tangible end result, the motion can be on.”

Harper described the assembly on the Division for Transport as “constructive”, including: “There’s a deal to be executed, and I consider we’ll get there – I need to facilitate the RMT and the employers to achieve an settlement and finish the dispute for the good thing about the travelling public.”

Harper is because of meet the final secretary of practice drivers union Aslef, Mick Whelan, subsequent week, after one other 24-hour drivers’ strike this Saturday 26 November, which can halt providers on strains throughout Britain.

In the meantime, there have been picket strains exterior faculties, universities and mail sorting centres initially of the newest wave of commercial motion on Thursday.

As much as 2.5 million college students have been anticipated to face disruption in what was billed as the most important strike within the historical past of UK larger schooling.

About 70,000 members of the College and Faculty Union (UCU), together with lecturers, librarians and researchers, began a 48-hour walkout on Thursday, with one other one-day strike deliberate for subsequent Wednesday, in a dispute over pay, pensions and contracts.

Jo Grady, basic secretary of UCU, stated: “If college vice-chancellors don’t get critical, our message is straightforward: this bout of strike motion can be just the start.”

College directors, cleaners, safety and catering workers in Unison are additionally taking industrial motion over pay at 19 universities.

In Scotland, schoolchildren stayed at residence as academics throughout the nation staged their first nationwide strike over pay in virtually 40 years, after dismissing the newest pay supply as an “insult”.

Just some major faculties in Orkney and Shetland opened as regular on Thursday, as hundreds of members of the Instructional Institute of Scotland (EIS) took half in a one-day strike. Two extra faculty strikes by different unions are scheduled in December.

Tens of hundreds of members of the Communications Employees Union working for Royal Mail additionally walked out on Thursday, within the first of 10 days of strikes earlier than Christmas. Strikes are anticipated to have an effect on deliveries from the height Black Friday buying day this week, with the ultimate motion as a result of happen on Christmas Eve.

The CWU basic secretary, Dave Ward, stated from a London picket line yesterday that Royal Mail was not paying time beyond regulation for overloaded staff and accused them of a “psychological assault”. The CWU has rejected a 9%, 18-month pay deal, saying plans to change working situations by Royal Mail would make it a “gig-economy fashion” employer.

The financial influence of the strikes stays unsure, in keeping with the Workplace for Nationwide Statistics (ONS), whose progress figures have beforehand estimated the hit from shutdowns such because the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II in September.

“There’s plenty of displacement with exercise going down both earlier than or after the times when strikes are going down,” a spokesperson stated. The ONS has solely not too long ago restarted collecting data for strikes after a pause in the course of the Covid-19 pandemic. Within the 4 months from June to September virtually three-quarters of 1,000,000 days have been misplaced by way of industrial motion.

Regardless of being heading in the right direction to be the very best figures for greater than a decade, they’re much decrease than within the peak years of strikes within the Nineteen Seventies and Nineteen Eighties. A complete of 29m days have been misplaced to industrial motion in 1979 – the 12 months of the winter of discontent – and 27m have been misplaced in the course of the year-long miners’ strike of 1984-5.


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