Royal Mail, university lecturers and sixth-form teachers strike again TOMORROW ahead of more Christmas walkouts – as 100,000 nurses confirm they WILL take industrial action
- Strikes will be held across the country tomorrow in one of the biggest walkouts
- Royal Mail workers are planning seven more strikes before Christmas
- Teachers in 77 sixth-form colleges will walkout in a row about cuts in real pay
- Up to 100,00 nurses will also take part in strikes just days before Christmas
More strikes will be held across the country tomorrow as unions gear up for Christmas walkouts – including 100,000 nurses in mid-December.
Royal Mail workers, university lecturers and sixth-form college staff will take action on one of the biggest walkouts on the same day.
Picket lines will be mounted outside universities, further education colleges and Royal Mail centres across the country as workers protest pay and working conditions.
This comes as the Royal College of Nursing confirmed strikes on December 15 and December 20 after members voted in favour of industrial action.
General Secretary of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) Dave Ward joins postal workers on the picket line in north west London last week
Royal Mail’s workers are set to inflict fresh misery on those planning to post gifts and cards in the run up to December 25
Up to 100,000 nurses will walk out of half the NHS England locations were the legal mandate for a strike was reached and every NHS employer – except one – in Wales and Northern Ireland.
Members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) are also planning seven more strikes in December, including Christmas Eve.
The Communication Workers Union said its members will be in London on December 9 for the ‘biggest strike demonstration this country has ever seen’.
National Education Union (NEU) teacher members who work in 77 sixth-form colleges in England will also be on strike tomorrow over a dispute about pay.
The union said teachers working in sixth-form colleges have suffered a real-terms pay cut of an estimated 20 per cent since 2010. A ballot showed huge support for industrial action.
Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the NEU, said that while members were reluctant to take strike action, pay cuts were seeing an ‘exodus’ of people leaving the profession.
‘Members take strike action with great reluctance, but the effects of real-terms pay losses are simply too urgent for them to endure the situation any longer.
‘These cuts are driving an exodus from the profession whilst providing little incentive to those seeking a career in teaching,’ Dr Bousted said.
‘The overwhelming majority of teachers in sixth-form colleges will receive a five per cent pay rise this year, which simply doesn’t deal with the effects of inflation.
Lecturers outside of the University of Birmingham contest working conditions and pay. The University and College Union (UCU) will strike again on Wednesday
Royal College of Nursing Strike
Up to 100,000 nurses will walk out of NHS providers on December 15 and December 20.
Nurses and other healthcare staff will take action at half of the locations in England where the legal mandate was reached for strikes, every NHS employer except one in Wales and throughout Northern Ireland.
A separate pay offer has been made in Scotland.
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) said the number of NHS employers will be increased in January if no new negotiations are held.
Despite a pay award of £1,400 this year, the RCN said experienced nurses are 20 per cent worse off in real terms compared to 2010.
The union is calling for a pay rise of 5 per cent above RPI inflation.
Other unions that support healthcare workers, including ambulance drivers and paramedics, midwives and hospital cleaners are also balloting their members on industrial action.
RCN General Secretary Pat Cullen said nurses had ‘had enough of being taken for granted and being unable to provide the care patients deserve’.
‘The Government is failing to act to protect the pay and living standards of our members, and it is in the gift of the Education Secretary to make that change. The message from members on this strike day is that she must do so urgently.’
The University and College Union (UCU) is following up a 48-hour strike last week with a 24-hour stoppage among university staff and is holding a rally in London.
UCU members at 150 universities will be on strike.
UCU General Secretary Jo Grady said: ‘Last week university staff delivered historic strike action and this week they are doing it all over again. Vice chancellors are about to witness another huge show of strength.
‘University staff are prepared to do whatever it takes to win decent pay, secure employment and fair pensions, and vice chancellors need to understand that they cannot simply ride this out. Students and staff are united like never before.
‘At the national rally in London, the entire movement will show it is behind UCU’s campaign to save higher education. It is clear those who run our universities are becoming increasingly isolated.
‘Our union is ready to deliver more industrial action next year, but avoiding that is entirely the responsibility of employers who have this week to make an improved offer. The ball is in their court.’
UCU members at the University of Sheffield International College are on strike for three days, ending on Wednesday, in a long-running dispute over low pay.
The union says the action is the first-ever strike to take place in a privatised higher education provider.
Meanwhile, members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union at Network Rail and 14 train operators are planning four 48-hour strikes on December 13-14 and 16-17, and January 3-4 and 6-7 January, and an overtime ban over Christmas which will cripple services.
The union’s General Secretary Mick Lynch held talks with the Transport Secretary last week but there has been no breakthrough in the long-running dispute over jobs, pay and conditions.
Strikes in December
More than 100,000 Royal Mail workers will strike across seven days during December, one of the busiest periods for the postal service.
Customers have been warned to send parcels and Christmas cards early this year as bosses worry the strikes will affect services.
The promised strike dates are:
- Thursday, December 1
- Friday, December 9
- Sunday, December 11
- Wednesday, December 14
- Thursday, December 15
- Friday, December 23
- Saturday, December 24
Postal workers recently rejected Royal Mail’s ‘best and final offer’ including enhanced pay deals of up to nine per cent over the next 18 months.
Recent strikes are thought to have cost Royal Mail up to £100million. Bosses have warned that the service is losing £1million a day and faces a bleak future if no changes are made.
For cards and presents to arrive by Christmas Day, customers are being advised to send second class items by Monday, December 19 at the latest.
For first class items, the cut-off will be Wednesday, December 21.
Sending items abroad will take even more foresight, with Royal Mail advising a deadline of December 3.
Dave Ward, general secretary of the Communication Workers’ Union, has urged the Government to intervene and claimed ‘no union would accept the jobs, losses and terms’ proposed by Royal Mail.
Other strikes planned in December include members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport Union (RMT), who will cripple the transport network in the run-up to Christmas.
RMT members will walk out on December 13 and 14 and later on December 16 and 17.
Civil servants within the Home Office, DEFRA, Border Force and Department for Transport are also set to walkout from mid-December after a long-running row over pay, jobs and pensions.
The Public and Commercial Services Union confirmed industrial action will go ahead for a month after their demands for a 10 per cent pay hike were rejected.
The University and Colleges Union, which represents 58 higher education providers across the UK, will hold a three-day strike between December 1 and December 3 as part of their dispute over pay, pensions and contracts.
G4S security staff tasked with delivering cash and coins to banks and supermarkets will also strike in December, prompting Christmas shortage fears.
The GMB union’s strike is set to take place from 3am on Monday, December 5.
Workers who brew and distribute Greene King’s products – including IPA, Old Speckled Hen and Abbot Ale – will walk out for five days from December 5
The Royal College of Nursing confirmed strikes of up to 100,000 nurses will take place on December 15 and December 20 across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Will pre-Christmas nursing strikes happen at YOUR hospital? List reveals where 100,000 NHS medics will walk-out on December 15 and 20
BY SHAUN WOLLER HEALTH EDITOR FOR THE DAILY MAIL and JOHN ELY SENIOR HEALTH REPORTER FOR MAILONLINE
Patients and the NHS will suffer less disruption than feared when nurses go on strike next month.
The Royal College of Nursing today revealed its members will only walk-outs at half of the sites in England that have secured a mandate for industrial action.
A sufficient number of nurses had voted in favour of striking at around 176 hospitals and health organisations across the UK, prompting leaders to order industrial action on December 15 and 20.
Health bosses warn strikes will put lives at risk and force them to cancel tests and operations at a time when a record 7.1million people are on waiting lists.
The Royal College of Nursing announced the first in a series of walk outs over pay will take place on Thursday 15 and Tuesday 20 December
The Royal College of Nursing is demanding a 19 per cent pay increase for its members and says devastating NHS strikes will begin this winter unless ministers enter ‘formal pay negotiations’ with in the next five days.
This graph shows the Royal College of Nursing’s demands for a 5 per cent above inflation pay rise for the bands covered by its membership which includes healthcare assistants and nurses. Estimates based on NHS Employers data
Nursing strikes Q&A: Everything you need to know
What was the result of the RCN ballot?
Nurses at the majority of NHS organisations on the ballot voted to strike – 176 out of 311 NHS employers across the UK.
Some did not meet the 50 per cent turnout threshold.
When will strikes be held?
Two strike days have been announced, December 15 and 20.
The action will be held across half of the NHS employers in England that voted to strike.
Nurses at all but one NHS employer in Wales and all in Northern Ireland will also take to the picket line.
Strike action in Scotland has not been announced after the Government there committed to further pay talks.
Could more strikes days be on the way?
The union has warned the number of NHS employers hit by strikes will increase in January unless the Government commits to pay negotiations.
What level of care can patients expect?
The RCN says nursing provision during the strike period should be equal to the skeleton staffing usually seen on Christmas Day, although the NHS says it has well-tested procedures to limit disruption.
Emergency care is expected to be maintained but other services and planned care could be disrupted.
Which nurses will remain in post?
Emergency nurses in A&E and intensive care will keep working, as will district nurses who help elderly people in the community. Other exemptions will be negotiated at a local level.
Why are nurses going on strike?
The RCN is campaigning for a pay rise of five per cent above inflation which is currently about 14 per cent.
The union claims an experienced nurse’s salary has fallen by 20 per cent since 2010.
What is the pay deal they are unhappy with?
Nurses in England and Wales received a pay increase of at least £1,400 this year, but the RCN claims this left them effectively working a day a week for free.
What’s the Government doing about the situation?
Health secretary Steve Barclay has insisted his ‘door is open’ to resume talks with unions to avert strike action but has added that the RCN’s demands are unaffordable.
Have there been nursing strikes before?
Yes – some nurses from the union UNISON went on strike in 2014 and RCN nurses in Northern Ireland walked out in 2019 but this is the first time the RCN has balloted all its 300,000 members in all UK countries in its 106-year history.
Who could be next to strike?
Hundreds of thousands of junior doctors, midwives, physiotherapists, paramedics, ICT staff and porters are among NHS staff either being balloted or expected to be balloted on strike action over anger about pay rises. The next result is expected to be from Unison, which closed its ballot on November 25 after asking 350,000 NHS workers whether they want to strike.
However, the RCN has now said fewer than 100,000 nurses will go on strike at just 76 locations.
This includes half of those where they could legally take action in England, all of those in Wales except one and throughout Northern Ireland.
It has suspended action in Scotland after the Government there made an improved pay offer.
The RCN said the number of NHS employers affected will increase in January unless further negotiations are held.
It failed to give a reason for scaling back industrial action nor explained how it had decided which places should strike now and which should wait.
Pat Cullen, RCN chief executive, said: ‘Ministers have declined my offer of formal pay negotiations and instead chosen strike action.
‘It has left us with no choice but to announce where our members will be going on strike in December.
‘Nursing is standing up for the profession and their patients.
‘We’ve had enough of being taken for granted and being unable to provide the care patients deserve.
‘Ministers still have the power and the means to stop this by opening negotiations that address our dispute.’
The Government announced this summer that nurses would receive a roughly four per cent, or £1,400, pay rise following an independent pay review process.
But the RCN is demanding that the rise is increased to five per cent above RPI inflation, which currently stands at 14.2 per cent.
Under the Government’s plans, the average nurse’s pay would rise from £35,600 to £37,000.
But the RCN want it boosted to £42,400, the equivalent of roughly an extra £6,835, which would cost taxpayers £10billion, according to official estimates.
Meanwhile, the head of the the NHS has said patients will not have procedures cancelled at the last minute due to the nurses’ strikes, but care will have to be postponed.
Amanda Pritchard, chief executive of NHS England, told MPs she could not confirm how far in advance patients would be notified about any changes to upcoming treatment.
Addressing the public accounts committee, she said efforts would be made to inform them ‘sooner rather than later’.
Mike Prentice, NHS England’s national director for emergency, planning and incident response, sent a letter yesterday to hospitals and care providers, warning the walkouts could result in the postponement of urgent surgery, chemotherapy and kidney dialysis.
Time-critical services for seriously ill patients may also be scaled back or stopped, the letter warned.
It comes amid reports that Armed Forces personnel could drive ambulances and stand in for frontline hospital roles during the NHS strikes.
The strikes comes as NHS bosses warn the health service faces ‘its most challenging winter ever’ with the ‘tripledemic’ of flu, Covid and record demand on urgent and emergency services.
The latest NHS data shows influenza levels in hospitals for the first week of winter data are already 10 times as high as the equivalent period last year, and twice as high as last winter’s peak.
Strikes, and the resulting impact on planned care could also exacerbate the record waiting list for routine care, such as hip and knee operations.
Official figures show a record 7.1million people in England are now in the queue for routine hospital treatment.
This is the equivalent of on in eight people in the country.
The data, which goes up to the end of September, also includes more than 400,000 people who have been waiting, often in pain, for over one year.
The NHS organisations that voted to strike
BOLD = HOSPITALS WHERE STAFF WILL WALK OUT ON DECEMBER 15 AND 20
East Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust
NHS Derby and Derbyshire ICB (Joined Up Care Derbyshire)
NHS Nottingham and Nottinghamshire ICB
Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust
Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust
Kettering General Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
EAST OF ENGLAND
Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust
Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Cambridge University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Royal Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust
Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust
Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust
Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust
Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust
West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust
NHS Hertfordshire and West Essex ICB
NHS Mid and South Essex ICB
NHS Norfolk and Waveney ICB
NHS Suffolk and North East Essex ICB
Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust
Guys and St Thomas NHS Foundation Trust
Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust
Hounslow and Richmond Community Healthcare NHS Trust
St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Kings College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust
Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust
University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
NHS North Central London ICB
NHS South West London ICB
Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust
Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust
Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital NHS Found Trust
Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre NHS Found Trust
The Christie NHS Foundation Trust
Wrightington Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust
Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust
Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Bridgewater Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
Wirral Community Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust
Midlands and Lancashire CSU
Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Found Trust
Liverpool Women’s NHS Foundation Trust
Central Cheshire Integrated Care Partnership
St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust
Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust
The Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust
Health Education England
NHS Cheshire and Merseyside ICB
NHS Lancashire and South Cumbria ICB
Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
North East Ambulance Service NHS Trust
University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust
Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust
Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust
The Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
North of England CSU (NECS)
Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust
East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust
University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust
South East Coast Ambulance Service
Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust
Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
Queen Victoria Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
NHS Kent and Medway ICB
NHS Surrey Heartlands ICB
Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust
Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust
University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust
South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust
Solent NHS Trust
Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust
Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust
Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
Devon Partnership NHS Trust
South Western Ambulance Service NHS Found Trust
Dorset Healthcare University NHS Foundation Trust
Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
North Bristol NHS Trust
Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust
University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust
University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust
Dorset County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT)
Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust
Royal Devon University Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust
Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust
University Hospitals Dorset NHS Foundation Trust
Somerset NHS Foundation Trust
Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust
Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust
NHS Bath, North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire ICB (BSW Together)
NHS Devon ICB (One Devon)
NHS Dorset ICB (Our Dorset)
NHS Gloucestershire ICB (One Gloucestershire)
Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
Herefordshire and Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust
The Royal Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust
Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust
University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust
Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust
Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Dudley Integrated Health and Care NHS Trust
NHS Birmingham and Solihull ICB (BSol ICB)
NHS Black Country ICB
YORKSHIRE AND THE HUMBER
Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust
Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
York and Scarborough Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust
Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust
The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust
Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust
NHS West Yorkshire ICB
Cardiff and Vale University Health Board
Powys Teaching Local Health Board
Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust Headquarters
Hywel Dda University Health Board
Swansea Bay University Health Board
Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board
Betsi Cadwaladr University Local Health Board
Velindre NHS Trust
Public Health Wales
Health Education and Improvement Wales Health Authority
NHS Wales Shared Services Partnership
Digital Health and Care Wales
NHS Education For Scotland
NHS National Services Scotland
NHS Western Isles
NHS Dumfries and Galloway
NHS Golden Jubilee
The State Hospitals Board for Scotland
NHS Ayrshire and Arran
The Highland Council
Healthcare Improvement Scotland
Public Health Scotland
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde
Scottish Ambulance Service
NHS Forth Valley
Northern Ireland Practice and Education Council
Southern Health and Social Care Trust
Western Health and Social Care Trust
Belfast Health and Social Care Trust
Business Services Organisation
Regulation & Quality Improvement Authority
Northern Ireland Blood Transfusion Service
Public Health Agency
Northern Health and Social Care Trust
South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust
Northern Ireland Ambulance Service
SOURCE: ROYAL COLLEGE OF NURSING, NOVEMBER 29
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