RCN protest at the court hearing Photo Rob Williams
RCN protest at the court hearing Photo Rob Williams

Michelle Jarrett-Ruecroft, Nurse practitioner and RCN steward

Since the Royal College of Nursing vote to strike was announced on 2 November 2022, the Tories have used every delay tactic they can muster to try to stop us striking – including entering into negotiations to only offer a paltry sum.

After RCN members went against the advice of the unions’ leadership and rejected the Tories’ insulting offer, the union gave the mandated 14-day notice period to commence a 48-hour walkout from 8pm on 30April.

The Tories claim that to strike on 2May would be unlawful, calling on the ‘anti-’ Trade Union Act 2016 that limits workers’ strike mandate to a period of six months. The explanatory notes, which are available on the government website, include a discretionary provision to extend this period to nine months, if agreed by the union and employer. The judge ruled in favour the Tories and deemed the last hours of the strike, on 2 May, illegal. The strike will now end at 23:59 on 1 May.

The RCN will now ballot its members for a new strike mandate. The government’s bully-boy tactics will instil a further sense of anger among nurses. It is up to us, fighting trade unionists in the workplace, to make sure the Tories tactics don’t succeed, to give nurses confidence that we do not have to accept a significantly below-inflation pay deal.

This bullying Tory government would like to impose even stricter anti-trade union laws – we must stop them! The Tories must not be allowed to bully us – who they declared “heroes”. And they must not be allowed to further decimate our NHS!