Exactly one year on since the start of our historic nursing strikes, we’re urging MPs to oppose new regulations related to the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Act. The regulations are set to be debated and voted on in the House of Commons shortly and will severely limit the freedom to strike for our members working in hospitals. Measures have already been passed that affect people working in other sectors, including nursing staff employed by ambulance services.
It takes just a few minutes to contact your MP using the letter template on the RCN website. Anyone can use the template, including members of the public who are not nursing staff.
Email your MP now.
RCN General Secretary and Chief Executive Pat Cullen said RCN members need the freedom to strike when governments stop listening.
“You have the right to advocate for change in your workplace, and industrial action is a powerful tool. No one who wants to take part in a lawful strike should be forced to work against their wishes,” she said. “This is a fundamental freedom worth fighting for together.”
We’ve consistently and vocally opposed the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Act from the outset. We’ve campaigned throughout the parliamentary process, issuing briefings to urge MPs and peers to vote against the act, and now, these regulations that directly affect a large proportion of our members.
When the legislation was passing through parliament, ministers told nurses from the despatch box that the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill was "not about nurses.”
We always feared this was untrue, as we stated at the time. These new regulations provide further proof of this – as nursing staff working within hospitals are explicitly within scope of the regulations related to hospital workers. We’re asking the government to stick to its word and not impose further draconian measures that limit our members’ freedom to strike.
Pat added: “Industrial action is always our last resort but this malicious attempt to curtail freedoms will not help end our dispute.
“Years of underfunding, real terms pay cuts and unsafe staffing levels have decimated our health service. Ministers should focus on solving the problem at hand, rather than trying to silence hardworking staff raising the alarm. To limit our ability to fight for the changes patients need is unacceptable.”
Our campaigning is far from over. There will remain more opportunities to influence, whatever the outcome in the upcoming votes on the regulations. Email your MP today.