Nurses in the West Midlands left with 'no choice' but to pursue strike action, union chief says
Nurses have been left with "no choice" but to strike because of the Government's "indifference" to the workforce crisis and pay levels, a union chief has said.
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has announced its members will stage their first ever national walk out on December 15 and 20 as the row escalates.
Union bosses claim the action – in England, Wales and Northern Ireland – will happen after the Government turned down its offer of detailed negotiations.
It will impact the likes of Birmingham Children's Hospital and Birmingham Women's Hospital alongside the major Queen Elizabeth Hospital in the region.
However hospitals in the Black Country and Staffordshire will be unaffected by the action due to some organisations not meeting the legal turnout thresholds.
Lindsay Meeks, regional firector of the RCN in the West Midlands, said: “We’ve announced these two strike dates because our members made it clear in our recent ballot that they feel the Government doesn’t care that their pay has been cut by up to 20 per cent in real terms since 2012 and they believe the severe workload pressures they’re under mustn’t keep on jeopardising patient care.
“It’s the Government’s refusal to come to the negotiating table that has forced us into this position. No nurse wants to go on strike but the Government’s indifference to the workforce crisis in health and social care and years of poor pay has left us with no choice.
“This is very much a last resort. It’s borne out of a desire by nursing staff to be properly valued by Ministers just as they are valued by the public and their patients.
“We’ll be announcing in due course in which NHS organisations we are calling on members to take strike action on December 15 and December 20, including those organisations in the West Midlands in which our members voted for strike action, having voted in sufficient numbers to pass the minimum 50 per cent turnout threshold.”
It means it is a case of business as usual for the likes of Wolverhampton’s New Cross Hospital, Sandwell General Hospital, Dudley’s Russells Hall Hospital and Walsall Manor Hospital.
But it will affect the Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust which provides physical and mental health services across Staffordshire, Stoke-on-Trent and Shropshire.
The likes of St George's Hospital in Stafford, The Redwoods Centre in Shrewsbury, and other locations run by the trust in the area could likely be impacted by the action.
Meanwhile nurses, have voted to strike at trusts which run The Royal Orthopaedic Hospital in Birmingham and the Kidderminster Hospital and Treatment Centre in the town.