UK Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Steve Barclay Thursday welcomed a High Court decision which found that the Royal College of Nursing’s (RCN) strike scheduled for May 2 is illegal. The decision comes only a few days after Barclay announced he would take legal action to prevent the strike.
In a statement posted to Twitter, Barclay said that while he “firmly support[s] the right to take industrial action within the law…the government could not stand by and let plainly unlawful strike action go ahead.” Barclay also called on RCN “to do the right thing by patients and agree to derogations for their strike action on 30 April and May 1.”
Outside of the High Court, RCN General Secretary Pat Cullen said, “Steve Barclay may get a legal win today, but what he has done is he has lost the public and he has certainly lost nursing.” RCN also released a statement later on Thursday, reading in part:
Nursing staff will be angered but not crushed by today’s interim order. It may even make them more determined to vote in next month’s reballot for a further six months of action. Nobody wants strikes until Christmas – we should be in the negotiating room, not the courtroom today.
With the court’s decision, the RCN strike against NHS workplaces across England will now be cut short by one day. Instead of ending at the scheduled time of 8:00 PM local time on May 2, the strike action will now end at 11:59 PM local time on May 1.