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Scottish government returns to pay negotiations with RCN to avoid nursing strikes

18 Nov 2022

The RCN has paused formal announcement of strike action in Scotland as the Scottish government has agreed to return to the negotiating table on NHS nursing staff pay.

Nursing staff protesting

Following a meeting today (18 November) between RCN General Secretary & Chief Executive Pat Cullen and First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish government has declared it will reopen NHS pay negotiations.

This comes after members overwhelmingly voted in favour of strike action across Scotland and the RCN Scotland Board formally rejected the updated pay offer from Scottish government.

"The Scottish government is taking the right approach to date - getting to the negotiating table and seeing how this action could be averted,” said Pat.

"With NHS pay talks reopening, we will not be announcing strike action in Scotland until that process reaches conclusion. This is an offer that applies to all governments.

"The First Minister understood that we have a very strong mandate for action in Scotland and that our members will strike if a satisfactory pay offer is not forthcoming."

RCN members at the majority of NHS employers across the UK have voted to take strike action. We’re campaigning for a pay rise of 5% above RPI inflation to overcome years of real-terms pay cuts, support nursing staff through the cost-of-living crisis and recognise their safety critical skills.

Yesterday (17 November) Pat warned Westminster there are a matter of days left before we’ll be forced to announce the dates and locations of strike action for December.

In England, Scotland and Wales the RCN’s mandate to organise strikes runs until early May 2023, six months after members finished voting. Northern Ireland, by law, has 28 days to commence industrial action. However, HSC employers in Northern Ireland have agreed to a four-week extension to this deadline 

"Politicians in the rest of the UK must look closely at this example and understand that we are genuine when we say negotiations avert strike action. But a lack of action by governments leaves us with no choice,” added Pat. 


Page last updated - 18/04/2023