After months of preparations, tens of thousands of nursing staff in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland will go on strike today as part of a long-running dispute over pay and working conditions.
Members of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) have walked out for the first time in the organization’s 106-year history.
Nurses are striking at three London hospital trusts: Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, and Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust. Nurses will also demonstrate at the NHS North Central London ICB.
With thousands of appointments and surgeries set to be cancelled, health leaders urged the union to do more to “avoid patient harm” and “alleviate unnecessary distress” for dying patients.
The RCN stated that ‘patient safety is everyone’s top priority,’ and that it will continue to staff chemotherapy, emergency cancer services, dialysis, critical care units, neonatal and paediatric intensive care.
In other news, Royal Mail employees are on the second day of a two-day strike, while DVSA driving examiners and Rural Payments Agency (RPA) employees are still on strike.
Commuters are also likely to face difficulties getting to work as a result of a 48-hour strike by Rail, Maritime and Transport union members at Network Rail and 14 train operators.
Meanwhile, another rail union has called for new strikes at two train companies in the days following Christmas.
The Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA) has announced that approximately 700 of its members at West Midlands Trains (WMT) and Great Western Railway (GWR) will strike over pay, jobs, and conditions.
According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), labour disputes cost 417,000 working days in October, the highest monthly total since November 2011.