The UK is set to be hit with more strike action this winter as nurses, paramedics and driving examiners are all set to take part in industrial action. The news follows what has been months of action by unions with Royal Mail, railway, and other communication workers walking out.
The Royal College of Nurses (RCN) has announced that up to 100,000 members will strike across England, Northern Ireland, and Wales on December 15 and 20. The union has said the number of employers affected will increase in January unless formal negotiations with the UK government are held.
Strike action was planned for Scotland, but following the Scottish government’s return to the negotiating table this has been paused. They made a new NHS pay offer last week, which eligible members in Scotland will now be consulted on.
RCN General Secretary & Chief Executive Pat Cullen said: “Ministers have declined my offer of formal pay negotiations and instead chosen strike action. We’ve been left with no choice but to announce where our members will be going on strike in December.
“We’re defending our profession and our patients. We’ve had enough of being taken for granted and being unable to provide the care patients deserve. Ministers still have the power and means to stop this by opening negotiations that address our serious concerns about patient safety and fair pay.”
Driving examiners who are members of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) will begin strike action across the UK from December 13. The strike will be staggered in different areas around the country through to the middle of January
A PCS spokesperson said: “Our national strike ballot on pay, pensions, jobs and cuts to the Civil Service Compensation Scheme closed earlier this month and we received a positive result for strike action in many areas of the civil service, including the Rural Payments Agency.
“In the RPA, 91 per cent of members voted for strike action on a 73 per cent turnout, well above the required legal threshold of 50 per cent. The initial phase of our strike action will cover the customer service centre as it will have a significant impact on employers’ operations and the government.”
Strike action will take place on the following dates:
- December 13-18- North-east England and Scotland
- December 19-24- North-west England and Yorkshire and the Humber
- December 28-31 and January 3- East of England, East Midlands and West Midlands
- January 4-10- London, South East, South West, and Wales
Thousands of ambulance staff including paramedics and ambulance technicians are set to walk out before Christmas. The union said members in several areas of the UK including London and the north west are to be called out. No dates have been confirmed yet.
Unison general secretary Christina McAnea said: "The decision to take action and lose a day’s pay is always a tough call. It’s especially challenging for those whose jobs involve caring and saving lives.
"But thousands of ambulance staff and their NHS colleagues know delays won’t lessen, nor waiting times reduce, until the government acts on wages. That’s why they’ve taken the difficult decision to strike."