RCN nurses take historic strike action over pay

Despite the freezing conditions, the warmth of support for nurses, part of the Royal College of Nurses (RCN) stood out as they took their historic first ever day of strike action in the UK.

Iain Dalton, Leeds Socialist Party

As the RCN branch secretary on the picket line reminded me, less than 30 years ago the RCN rulebook didn’t allow for strike action, but such are conditions in the NHS today that such action has become necessary.

Socialist Party members joined the picket lines at both major hospitals in Leeds.

Over 50 were picketing in the early morning at St James’s Hospital, where a number of members of the public dropped off food and hot drinks with the pickets. At the main entrance to the hospital and almost constant chorus of toots in support was heard from passing vehicles.

At the LGI, even larger numbers of hundreds were gathered for a strike rally hosted by Leeds TUC. Support was even forthcoming from the police, who cheered strikers on from cars as they passed!

Copies of the Socialist Party’s strike bulletin were widely taken with many strikers wanting to be updated on what stage other disputes were at. Several copies of the Socialist were also sold to strikers.

As one nurse at St James’ hospital, said to us about the Tory government “They’re not prepared to give anyone any extra money, apart from themselves and their mates. They don’t care about working like you and me”

Socialist Party members will e again joining nurses next Tuesday on picket lines and ambulance workers the day after.

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