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Nurses 'threatened' over strike plans


Nurses are being warned they risk jeopardising their registration and being denied pay and holiday accrual by going on strike.

The move comes as millions of public sector workers are being balloted over whether to take part in a “day of action” starting on 30 November in protest at planned pensions changes.

The government backed plans to scrap final salary pensions, raise the retirement age and increase employee contributions, before negotiations with unions had concluded.

Nursing and Midwifery Council chief executive and registrar Dickon Weir-Hughes said the regulator respected nurses’ “democratic right to express support for their trade unions and to lobby on a wide range of issues”.

But he continued: “However this must never be at the expense of the people that they are caring for.”

He added: “In considering how to respond to calls for industrial action, nurses and midwives must ensure that their actions do not jeopardise good standards of care.”

He also reminded nurses that their registration could be at risk if they failed to comply with the NMC’s code of conduct.

The conduct stresses nurses should make patients their “first concern” and provide a high standard of care “at all times”.

Unison’s head of health Christina McAnea condemned the statement, calling it “threatening and heavy handed”.

Royal College of Nursing executive director of nursing and service delivery Janet Davies said nurses would not “take a decision on industrial action lightly” but were “increasingly angry” about the pensions proposals.

Unlike the Unison and Unite unions, the RCN has decided not to ballot nurses. The Managers in Partnership union, which represents 5,500 senior managers including nurses, is balloting members for the first time.

NHS Employers, which represents organisations, last week wrote to human resources directors advising them to take on board the NMC’s code of conduct.

It has produced a template “policy statement” on industrial action for trusts to use, which states “payments under productivity bonus schemes may be adversely affected” for staff who strike.

In addition, annual leave entitlement will not accrue during periods of industrial action, although trusts may decide not to impose this due to the “administrative effort” involved. Any sickness absences will need to be explained with a medical note, the statement says.


Readers' comments (38)

  • This makes me so angry!!!!! Just who the hell do they think they are? This should make people MORE determined to strike and show these pompous, arrogant fools just who exactly is the more essential workforce here!

    It is time all these idiots who think they have any rule over Nurses are swept away and Nurses take control of our own profession!

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  • I wasn't planning on going on strike......but I am now, if only to protest at the fascist NMC!

    It is my right to take part in any legal and valid strike action, it is my manager's problem to cover patient care in my absence.

    If I am punished by the NMC or my employer for taking up my legal and democratic right to take industrial action (as long as it is within the law), I will persue my case to tribunal and beyond but at least I can be confident that Unison (unlike the RCN) would support me in so doing.

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  • The RCN will ballot after the negotiations are over (end Oct). Mike stop being offensive to everyone.

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  • I can’t really say I’m surprised with the NMC’s stance or that of the RCN. What I suggest colleagues do is go on strike then refer themselves to the NMC. If we all did this, the NMC would be unable to cope with the deluge of self referrals and I doubt would proceed with any of them!

    We are being stitched up by our employers, the government, our union and our regulator - its absolutely disgusting!

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  • Two words, Dickon Weir-Hughes! (but I won't insult everyone's inteligence by saying it) . . Does he not know its the very fact we want to provide a high standard of care at all times that we want to do this! He insults out intelligence just by quoting the code, we know what it says baffoon! . . . I am so angry with this because I do care so much for my patients but I deserve to have recognition for that! Just like any of my other peers who have gone to university and put 110% into their chosen career. Why should nursing be any different!

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  • I always thought that blackmail was illegal, but then I remembered that the emotional kind isn't!

    The NMC doesn't serve any purpose other than to fleece us every year in order for us to be able to do our jobs.

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  • @ mike | 7-Oct-2011 1:05 pm
    quite right mike. i'm all for getting rid of the idiots.

    @ Anonymous | 7-Oct-2011 4:41 pm
    we are being stiched up. personally, i'm all for going on strike. they can't throw us all in jail.

    @ maria gough | 7-Oct-2011 2:36 pm
    your right. let the managers deal with the fall out. they have spent years passing the buck.

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  • tinkerbell

    "The government backed plans to scrap final salary pensions, raise the retirement age and increase employee contributions, before negotiations with unions had concluded"

    It was a done deal. Negotiations are over as far as the government are concerned and this is why we are in this position.

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  • Shame senior nurse managers and other NHS hierarchy do not put patient care first
    DITTO all of the above comments

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