Northern Ireland

Nurses' strike NI: RCN plan at least eight more days of strikes

Nurses are on picket lines across Northern Ireland earlier this month Image copyright PA Media

Nurses in Northern Ireland have announced plans for further strike action in the new year.

They are planning eight more days of strikes before the end of March unless a resolution is reached in a dispute over pay and staffing levels.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) said the first of these strikes will be held on 8 January and 10 January 2020.

More than 15,000 nurses recently took to the picket lines for the first time in the RCN's 103-year history.

During the previous strike, RCN nurses were joined by nurses from members of the largest health union Unison as well as Nipsa.

Pat Cullen, director of the RCN in Northern Ireland, said the action would continue "until we get safe staffing in place".

Image caption Pat Cullen, director of the RCN in Northern Ireland, said the action would continue "until we get safe staffing"

"They have released dates until the end of March. Between January and March there are probably another eight days planned and they will continue after that," she said.

"Nurses in Northern Ireland are angry that no-one appears to be taking seriously the crisis in our health service.

"By now, no-one in Northern Ireland, or indeed the rest of the UK, can be in any doubt about the inequalities in health care that people in Northern Ireland are facing."

She added while the RCN supported the restoration of devolution, nurses "deeply resent the link that is being made between this and resolving the crisis in health care".

Amid growing pressure to resolve the dispute, Northern Ireland Secretary Julian Smith has reiterated that responsibility for the health service is a devolved matter.

Earlier this month, talks between the main Stormont parties took place to try to restore powersharing - but failed to secure a resolution.

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