When is the next nurses’ strike? High Court finds May 2 action ‘unlawful’

NHS nurses in emergency departments, intensive care, and cancer wards will strike for the first time.

Nurses are no longer set to strike on May 2, after a High Court judge ruled today that such action would be unlawful.

Health secretary Steve Barclay had issued an ultimatum to nurses, telling the union to change proposed walkout dates or face a court battle.

The Government’s victory means a planned 48-hour nurses strike starting at 8pm on Sunday will end earlier than anticipated.

Mr Barclay earlier said NHS employers had contacted him asking him to check the legality of the action because a six-month strike mandate runs out on May 1.

Union general secretary Pat Cullen had told members that the Government has the ability to stop strike action from happening on May 2, as planned.

Earlier this week, she said the union has said nurses could strike until Christmas if they cannot reach a deal with the Government and has called for an improved offer.

Union members rejected a pay deal on Friday (April 14), sparking concerns that more strikes could be on the way. In the ballot, 61 per cent of eligible members voted and 54 per cent of these members rejected the pay deal.

Legal action

Mr Barclay said about pursuing legal action: “I therefore regretfully provided notice of my intent to pursue legal action with a view to protecting patients, NHS workers, and RCN members whilst continuing to seek a way to resolve this through official channels.”

Ms Cullen said on Wednesday (April 26), in an email to nurses: “Nursing staff like you will join me outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London to show the Government that we’re standing up to its attempts to cut short your lawful strike.

“We expect that ministers could be successful in putting their full weight on the court.

“If they win, we’ll let you know as soon as possible that the strike will end at midnight on Monday, May 1, and not the following evening, as originally planned.”

When are the next nurses’ strikes?

Nurses are set to walk out from 8pm, on Sunday, April 30. It is now possible they will only strike for 24 hours rather than the intended 48 hours.

NHS nurses in emergency departments, intensive care, and cancer wards will strike for the first time.

What are officials saying about the strikes?

In a letter to Steve Barclay, Ms Cullen said: “What has been offered to date is simply not enough. The Government needs to increase what has already been offered and we will be highly critical of any move to reduce it.

“Until there is a significantly improved offer, we are forced back to the picket line. Meetings alone are not sufficient to prevent strike action and I will require an improved offer as soon as possible. In February, you opened negotiations directly with me and I urge you to do the same now.

“After a historic vote to strike, our members expect a historic pay award.”

Meanwhile, Mr Barclay has called on the RCN to accept the Government’s pay offer so the NHS can “get back to focusing on patients”.

In an opinion piece for The Sun, he warned that fresh nurses’ strikes would have a “deeply concerning” impact on emergency services and cancer care.

And in January, he said he was “disappointed that patients face disruption again”.

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