Nurses Willing To Meet Ministers 'Halfway' In Pay Dispute

"Do the decent thing for these nurses," the RCN's Pat Cullen told the government.
Royal College of Nursing general secretary Pat Cullen.
Royal College of Nursing general secretary Pat Cullen.
Peter Byrne - PA Images via Getty Images

Nursing union boss Pat Cullen has said they are willing to meet the government “halfway” in the dispute over pay.

The head of the Royal College of Nursing suggested they would consider a settlement of about 10% if ministers agree to talks.

Cullen has previously said the RCN’s demand for a 19% rise, dismissed by the government as “unaffordable”, is just a starting point and she would put any new offer to her members.

In a Times Radio interview, she said: “I believe they’re entitled to 19%.

“But we also understand the economic climate that we’re working in. What I would say to [health secretary] Steve Barclay, and to the prime minister, is get into a room and meet me halfway here, do the decent thing for these nurses.”

Pressed on whether they would be willing to accept a 10% pay rise, Cullen told the Past Imperfect podcast: “Look, let’s discuss it, is what I would say. Let’s get in and set out our stalls.”

Thousands of nurses walked out on December 15 and 20, and the RCN has said its members will strike again on January 18 and 19 unless negotiations are opened.

The planned action would take place at more NHS employers in England than the previous strikes, increasing from 44 to 55 trusts, according to the RCN.

The union has also warned that strike action could continue over the next six months unless an agreement can be reached.

A department of health spokesperson said the secretary of state is “keen to meet for discussions as soon as possible”.

They added: “We have accepted the recommendations of the independent NHS pay review body in full and have given over one million NHS workers a pay rise of at least £1,400 this year.

“This is on top of a 3% pay increase last year when public sector pay was frozen and wider Government support with the cost of living.”

It comes as ministers announced legislation that will require NHS staff, teachers, firefighters and rail workers to provide minimum service levels during industrial action.

Unions that refuse to do so will face injunctions and could be sued for damages and employees could be sacked.


What's Hot