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Biggest nursing strike yet begins tonight

30 Apr 2023

RCN members working for the NHS across England will withdraw their labour from 8pm.

Spring strikes

The strike comes after 54% of eligible members who voted in our recent ballot on the UK government’s NHS pay offer voted to reject it

In response, we demanded the urgent re-opening of pay talks and announced a new strike with no national derogations. 

This means that for the first time, the strike will include nursing staff working in emergency departments, intensive care units, cancer care and other services that were previously exempt from strike action. 

The strike will be held at all NHS employers across England where we hold a mandate to strike, making it the biggest and most intense nursing strike to date. 

RCN General Secretary & Chief Executive Pat Cullen said: “After a three-month pause, strike action by nursing staff regrettably recommences tonight.  

“The government wants to bring NHS strike action to a close this coming week but with several big unions - and nursing as the largest part of the NHS workforce - still in dispute, it has to do better.  

“Only negotiations can resolve this and I urge ministers to reopen formal discussions with the College over pay specifically. 

“Nursing staff are looking for a fair settlement that shows the government values and understands their profession. We appear a long way from that currently but I remind ministers it is entirely in their gift.”

The strike begins at 8pm or the beginning of the night shift tonight (30 April) and ends at 11.59pm tomorrow (1 May). The strike was originally planned to run for 48-hours, ending at 8pm on Tuesday (2 May) but had to be cut short following a High Court hearing in which the judge ruled in favour of the government.  

We’re encouraging all members working at an NHS employer where we have a mandate to strike, to take strike action and to tell their employer they’ll be striking. The RCN continues to work with employers to ensure a robust escalation process is in place that will grant safety critical mitigations throughout the strike, should they be needed.

As part of escalation processes to ensure "life and limb care" is covered, we are agreeing local mitigations. If you are contacted by your employer, please check here and respond positively.

Please also visit our strike hub to find out which NHS workplaces will be affected by strike action, where picket lines will be and how to claim strike benefit, which has been increased to £80 per day of action and to £120 from the fourth day of action taken by any RCN member. 

A meeting of the NHS Staff Council, involving employers and health unions, is being held on Tuesday (2 May). This is when it will be known which health unions have accepted or rejected the government’s NHS pay offer for England. If the offer is accepted by the majority of the NHS workforce, the government will likely impose its implementation despite the RCN’s ongoing dispute. 

Our statutory industrial action ballot for more strike action will open in mid-May. If eligible members vote in favour, exceeding the legal threshold for strike action, we’ll have a mandate to conduct strikes for a further six months. Make sure your contact details and postal address are up to date so you can have your say. By law, this ballot must be conducted by post. 

Page last updated - 27/09/2023