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A&E, intensive care and cancer nurses could soon join colleagues on the picket line | UK News

Nurses from emergency departments, intensive care and cancer wards could soon be asked to join their colleagues in strike action.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) is understood to be considering action across three days and throughout the night as its dispute with the government escalates.

The union told NHS leaders on Friday that it is preparing to end a process where it had agreed around 5,000 local exemptions from strike action within hospitals.

This would mean nurses in those three departments could become involved, although there would still be a limited provision for the most urgent clinical situations under the union’s legal obligation not to endanger life.

Read more:
Who is taking industrial action in 2023 and why?
Rising public support for unions despite widespread strikes, Sky News poll suggests

An RCN source said: “NHS leaders are fearing this escalation, and they must bring pressure to bear on government to get it stopped.

“They were expecting an escalation but had not prepared for the removal of the committees and derogation process that too many had manipulated at local level and applied pressure on nurses to break the strike.”

Dates for the next nurses’ strikes in England could be announced within days, and the action itself could then take place a few weeks later.

England’s nurses walked off the job for two days last week but a strike planned in Wales was called off after the Welsh government improved its pay offer.

In England, Rishi Sunak’s government has indicated it will not negotiate on pay for this financial year.

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Ministers have said they can look at next year’s pay, much to the frustration of union leaders, who say their members need higher pay now to cope with the soaring cost of living.

Nurses are among a number of sectors striking due to the inability of their wages to keep up with rising costs – rail workers, ambulance workers, solicitors, and waste collectors are among those who have walked off the job in the past year.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer says he sacked shadow minister for making up policy ‘on the hoof’ at picket line | Politics News

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has said one of his shadow ministers was sacked yesterday for making up policy “on the hoof” as he stood on a picket line during rail strikes.

Sam Tarry was dismissed from his role as a junior shadow transport minister after he disobeyed orders for frontbench Labour MPs to not appear on picket lines during Wednesday’s rail strike.

He told Sky News workers should be offered pay rises in line with inflation – however Labour’s position is that pay negotiations are for unions and ministers.

Speaking for the first time since he was sacked, Sir Keir explained: “Sam Tarry was sacked because he booked himself onto media programmes without permission and then made up policy on the hoof.

“That can’t be tolerated in any organisation because we have got collective responsibility, so that was relatively straightforward.”

“Of course, as far as the industrial action is concerned, I completely understand the frustration of so many working people who have seen the prices go up, have seen inflation through the roof and their wages haven’t gone up.

“So the Labour Party will always be on the side of working people but we need collective responsibility as any organisation does.”

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Labour minister defies Starmer

Earlier, former shadow chancellor John McDonnell, who is still an MP, told Sky News he was backing Mr Tarry’s position and criticised Sir Keir for sacking him.

He said it was a “severe mistake” as the Labour Party was formed by the trade unions “so when the trade unions have a just cause, we support them – and this is a just cause”.