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Nursing strikes in England escalated to highest level yet as PM still refuses to negotiate

6 Feb 2023

Members forced onto picket lines once more on biggest ever day of strike action in the NHS.

Defiant nursing staff on picket line

Today and tomorrow (6 and 7 February), nursing staff are striking again in England to secure a future with safe patient care and fair pay.

The strikes over the next two days will be at the highest intensity in our history – taking place at 73 NHS trusts in England, compared to 44 in December and 55 in January. Members of other health unions are also striking, making today (6 February) the single biggest day of strike action in the NHS. 

While we’ve had discussions with the UK government, the Prime Minister is still refusing to open formal pay negotiations which would stop nursing strikes. This weekend, our General Secretary & Chief Executive Pat Cullen appealed to him directly. 

In a letter to Rishi Sunak, she wrote: “Please address this current impasse. I have made clear that opening negotiations and making meaningful offers can avert strike action.”

On Friday (3 February), the Welsh government made an offer to NHS staff of an additional 3% pay rise for the current financial year (2022-23). We consequently cancelled our planned strike action in Wales for this week. In Scotland, negotiations continue over additional funding for the current year and there are no planned strikes.

Pat continued: “Your government looks increasingly isolated in refusing to reopen discussions about the 2022-23 NHS pay award. As a result, the strike action for England remains - with tens of thousands of nurses losing wages to ensure you hear their voice. It must not be in vain. 

“It will be the biggest day of industrial action in the 75-year history of the NHS. Nursing staff find that a sobering realisation of how far they have been pushed to protect patient care and secure some respect for the nursing profession. 

“I’m urging you to reset your government in the eyes of the public and demonstrate it is on the side of the hardworking, decent taxpayer. There could be no simpler way to demonstrate this commitment than bringing the nurse strike to a swift close.” 

Visit our Strike Hub to find out where your nearest picket line is, or if you can’t make it to a picket line, show your support for our strikes on social media using the hashtag #RCNStrike.  


Page last updated - 05/07/2023