By Biodun Busari
Registered nurses in the United Kingdom under the aegis of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) have announced they will embark on a strike as they demand a pay rise.
AFP reported RCN made this known on Wednesday in a development that would make a widespread UK strike action in the union’s 106-year history.
According to RCN, “Results of our biggest ever strike ballot show record numbers of nursing staff are prepared to join picket lines this winter.”
Speaking about the proposed strike, Britain’s Health Minister, Steve Barclay said the decision was “disappointing.”
The decision was taken considering the cost-of-living crisis ravaging the country which the nurses complained has left the union’s members struggling to feed their families and pay their bills.
“This is a defining moment in our history, and our fight will continue through strike action and beyond for as long as it takes to win justice for the nursing profession and our patients,” RCN General Secretary Pat Cullen said.
“Anger has become action – our members are saying enough is enough,” she added.
The industrial action is slated to commence before the end of the year, but dates have not been revealed.
The RCN is calling for a pay rise of five per cent above inflation as recent months have seen a wave of industrial action in the UK.
Tens of thousands of staff in various industries – from the postal and legal systems to ports and telecommunications – have gone on strike across Britain since the summer.
The RCN said there are currently record nursing vacancies, with 25,000 staff leaving the Nursing and Midwifery Council register last year.