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THE BIG QUESTION

The big question: should nurses ever go on strike?

The Royal College of Nursing’s leader has urged its members to “think carefully” before striking over pay.

Peter Carter, the RCN’s chief executive and general secretary, used a keynote speech at RCN congress to steer members away from strike action.

The move is the first public acknowledgement from the college’s leadership that strike threats are not their favoured response to the government’s pay offer.

Instead, they plan to target around 40 MPs in marginal seats through lobbying activities, which they hope will put pressure on ministers and their shadows.

What do you think about striking?

Readers' comments (16)

  • tinkerbell

    I'm sure nurses would 'think carefully' at the very least before striking. Obviously it is not something any of us would want to do just cos' we're bored!

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  • NO!

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  • Striking in my opinion would be wrong, dangerous and unprofessional.

    What would be far more effective would be to withdraw goodwill. The health service has relied on the goodwill of nurses since time began! It would not breach patient care and safety but would start to grind the cogs to a halt.

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  • Yes we should, If they treat us with the respect we deserve, we wouldn't feel the need to strike! If a strike happens, then it should the trusts responsibility to cover wards with competent staff.

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  • Read about a nurse and her colleagues who DID strike and who won!

    http://www.anu.edu.au/polsci/marx/interventions/rebelwomen/nurses.htm

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  • http://www.anu.edu.au/polsci/marx/interventions/rebelwomen/nurses.htm

    Sorry, the link provided above was somehow truncated.

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  • Bah! Again the link failed.

    Google "The 1986 Victorian nurses’ strike"

    An example of "strike power " benefiting patients well-being.

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  • judith willis | 21-Jun-2014 2:22 pm

    I agree with you. only I fear there is so much reliance on goodwill and extra hours that their withdrawal would put patients' care and lives at risk. there is no easy answers as seems all other strategies have been exhausted and without any effect.
    maybe dropping any unnecessary paperwork and any other non-nursing tasks would make management seek other solutions for these roles. Hell, they are supposed to be working with you providing a support structure for your vital work you should not have to be working against each other!

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  • tinkerbell

    if nurses aren't prepared to strike they can take industrial action instead, work to their allotted times, take their meal breaks, not provide cover on their days off etc., this would soon be noticed and show how stretched the service by relying on nurses so called 'goodwill' which is actually doing other nurses out of finding a job in nursing and ensuring inadequate staffing numbers. Being a martyr to our jobs only leaves us tired and burnt out. I learnt the hard way and i'm sure many more will and have also.
    We need to guide the young'uns coming into nursing that if they flog themselves to death their own health will eventually suffer as a consequence. We need to look after each other if we are trying to look after others.

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  • tinkerbell

    The minute you settle for less than you deserve, you get even less than you settled for. - Maureen Dowd

    Saw this quote and thought of nursing pay, terms & conditions and future pensions.

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  • Fundamental right to withdraw labour.

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  • Anonymous | 22-Jun-2014 11:06 pm


    not if the taxpayers are paying for your labour it isn't!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! not to mention lives you could be putting at risk!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • Nurses should NOT strike. They should write and lobby MP's.As a caring profession, it looks to the public, that all we CARE about is pay. There are many better paid jobs, but they dont bring the satisfaction that nursing does.There are many low paid jobs which are physically hard, dirty and bad working conditions, so let's be grateful and ask, politely for a better deal, remembering the country is almost bankrupt

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  • agree Sally

    but remember that whilst nursing is classed as a caring profession it does not actually mean that all nurses CARE!

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  • Anonymous | 23-Jun-2014 7:37 am/sally carson | 23-Jun-2014 11:40 am/Anonymous | 23-Jun-2014 12:04 pm

    An employee forbidden by the state to withdraw his labour is a slave. It really is that simple.

    "You have the right to take industrial action and you can’t be legally forced to stay at, or go back to, work" www.gov.uk

    "striking is a human right"
    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/libertycentral/2010/mar/26/ba-strike-human-rights

    Discuss

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  • ECHR: article 28;

    'At EU level, the right to strike is enshrined in Article 28 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (139Kb PDF) (entitled ‘Right of collective bargaining and action’):

    Workers and employers, or their respective organisations, have, in accordance with Union law and national laws and practices, the right to negotiate and conclude collective agreements at the appropriate levels and, in cases of conflicts of interest, to take collective action to defend their interests, including strike action.

    All workers, regardless of the nature of the employer, whether public or private, are entitled to this right to take collective action'

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