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Following the news that members of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) in Northern Ireland have voted overwhelmingly to take industrial action, including strike action, over the nurse staffing and pay crisis, RCN Council met on 12 November to approve dates on which to take this action.
96% of those members who returned their ballot papers voted to take industrial action and 92% voted to take strike action. The first day of industrial action will be Tuesday 3 December 2019. Industrial action, short of strike action, will include declining to do any task that is not patient-specific. Examples of such actions include:
Working no bank or overtime shifts on days of industrial action
Not working unpaid hours
Not completing paper work other than individual patient records
Not preparing or cleaning empty beds when a patient is discharged
Not accompanying patients to tests and investigations unless there is an identified clinical requirement
Not answering telephones at ward level
No administrative tasks
Not collecting prescriptions or pharmacy in the community
Not collecting or delivering blood samples in the community
Not attending meetings including bed management or bed co-ordination meetings
Not attending any regional or local meetings, conferences or non-mandatory training.
Two further dates of industrial action, short of strike action, will take place on 10 and 11 December followed by the first day of strike action which will be Wednesday 18 December 2019.
Pat Cullen, Director of the RCN in Northern Ireland said: “Nurses are very disappointed that there has been no further meaningful engagement with the Department of Health regarding the safe staffing and pay crisis that we are facing in Northern Ireland.
“RCN Council has now approved a schedule of industrial action and strike action. Regrettably this will begin before the Christmas period. The first two weeks of action will be industrial action followed by our first day of strike on 18 December. We are now putting plans in place to determine how this will be managed and delivered.
“While no nurse wants to take this action, unfortunately we have been left with no choice and we are now carrying out the instructions that our members have clearly voted for. We will have further details on the impact this will have upon services closer to the time.”
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