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Everything you need to know about the nurse's strike

Tory MP shut down for explanation on why nurses can't get a …

Today (Thursday 15 December), tens of thousands of NHS nurses are on strike in England, Wales and Northern Ireland after the union voted to take industrial action over pay.

It is the first strike of this kind to take place in the history of the NHS’ 106-year existence and comes as a response to the government’s proposed pay rise, which amounts to a real terms pay cut due to inflation.

From 8 am to 8 pm today, nurses and other healthcare professionals will withdraw their labour in what is the first of two announced days of strike action – the second being 20 December.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) union accused government ministers of refusing to engage in talks about pay, leaving its members with no choice but to strike.

The union represents almost half a million nurses, student nurses, midwives and nursing support workers in the UK and internationally.

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General Secretary of the RCN, Pat Cullen, said: “They have the power and the means to stop this by opening serious talks that address our dispute.

“Nursing staff have had enough of being taken for granted, enough of low pay and unsafe staffing levels, enough of not being able to give our patients the care they deserve.”

Picket lines were set up at hospitals across much of the UK, with RCN members calling for better pay to attract and, crucially, keep nurses and healthcare workers in the profession.

The unprecedented nurse's strike comes as multiple other industries also stage walk-outs over pay. Postal workers and railway workers are all staging strikes in the weeks and days, before Christmas.

Mick Lynch, General Secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union called for “a wave of action” for low-paid workers, though there are as yet no plans for coordinated strikes.

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