Nurses announce two more strike dates in February

Nurses have announced two more strike dates next month as a row with the government over pay shows no sign of reaching a resolution. The Royal College of Nursing

(RCN) said nurses will strike on February 6 and 7, with more NHS trusts taking part than ever before. Nurses at 55 NHS trusts in England are already scheduled to walk

out on Wednesday and Thursday this week, but the February action will grow bigger and cover 73 trusts. Some 12 health boards and organisations in Wales will also take

part in the two consecutive days of strikes. In December, thousands of nurses at trusts across England and Wales took part in two strike days, leading to the

cancellation of thousands of hospital appointments and operations. The union said it has repeatedly urged ministers to open talks on NHS pay and discuss the pay award

for the current financial year, 2022/23. RCN chief executive Pat Cullen said of the latest strike announcement: ‘It is with a heavy heart that nursing staff are striking

this week and again in three weeks. Rather than negotiate, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has chosen strike action again. ‘We are doing this in a desperate bid to get him

and ministers to rescue the NHS. ‘The only credible solution is to address the tens of thousands of unfilled jobs – patient care is suffering like never before.

‘My olive branch to the Government – asking them to meet me halfway and begin negotiations – is still there. They should grab it.’ The RCN has been calling for

a pay rise at 5% above inflation, though it has said it will accept a lower offer.