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RCN to consult on anti-strike rule

The RCN is calling for members’ views on a rule that effectively prevents nurses going out on strike.

Rule 12 of the RCN’s constitution states that members will not act ‘in any way which is detrimental to the wellbeing or interests of their patients or clients’.

Should the college's council decide to change Rule 12, there would have to be a ballot of members to ratify it.

The rule was last reviewed in 1995 – but a debate at RCN Congress in April begun by Cecilia Anim, of the RCN’s Islington Branch, called for the rule to be abolished.

Although the motion was eventually watered down, the RCN promised to review Rule 12 following the debate.

Members are being asked to consider whether Rule 12 is suited to today’s health and employment environment and if it hinders the the college's ability to initiate meaningful industrial action.

Members can send their comments to RCN senior employment relations advisor Gerry O’Dwyer.


Readers' comments (7)

  • After 33 years in the nursing profession my vote would be to scrap this totally outmoded rule which has done nurses no favours whatsoever and has turned nursing into the ‘Cinderella’ of the multi-disciplinary healthcare team.

    Our profession is being expected to take on more and more responsibilities, previously the jurisdiction of our significantly better paid medical colleagues without any financial remuneration at all; we are expected to do additional training, gain further qualifications etc. but without any monetary recompense at all.

    By removing Rule 12 ‘meaningful industrial action’ would undoubtedly provide an effective tool when negotiating future pay increases.

    Let’s stop settling for pay cuts!

    Reject Rule 12!!!

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  • Rule 12 needs to be reassessed or cancelled

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  • The ability to withdraw ones labour in defence of poor conditions of employment has a long history in the UK. The right of nurses to strike is one of the few ways that seems available in order for the profession to be "listened too".
    Of course running an esential service requires that there be great thought into how the practicalities of strke action effect one's patients and colleagues.
    We should remember that poor conditions for nursing & medical staff inevitably leads to poor services for patients & clients and we have a duty of care to do what we can to maintain & improve both!

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  • The RCN stated in Rule 12 "...that members will not act 'in any way which is detrimental to the wellbeing or interests of their patients or clients'".

    Surely if any staff are working in such conditions that lead to poor morale, stress and burn out, this will lead to staff breaching Rule 12.

    One purpose of strike action is to show the Government and other powers to be that the country relies on the service and that staff should work in an environment that pays well, a clean environment, good working conditions where the MDT can work together in harmony so that the patients do get high quality holistic care.

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  • i think nurses should have the right to strike its the only way we will highlight the the dire situation that nurses in this country are in i have been involved in a strike situation ( not in this country ) and the public were very supportive i dont thnk the general public in this country realise the difficulties nurses face on a daily basis
    just trying to do their job

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  • It is a very long time since the RCN took a stand against governents which have systematically watered down Pay Review Body decisions. They have done this because there has been no effective opposition. Rulr 12 is not just about taking strike action, but any form of industrial action, and there are times when members of the RCN have needed this option to ensure that patient care was not compromised, but did not have it available to them. I am in favour of scrapping the rule in its present form. The RCN Council should have the authority to sanction limited industrial action (action short of strike action) where members feel patient care is compromised or to improve the salaries of its members.

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  • Whilst I agree in principal that rule 12 should be re-considered and amended to reflect the current working enviroment. I personally do not believe in strike action and I am very concerned regardong the potential effect such action would have on patient care and delivery of service.

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