Picket lines for nurses strike action at Cornwall hospitals

Nursing staff across Cornwall will be taking part in two consecutive days of strike action this week in what has been described as a “last resort.”

Emma Ferguson www.falmouthpacket.co.uk 

Members of the Royal College of Nursing will be outside the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust and Cornwall Partnership Foundation Trust hospitals on both Wednesday and Thursday.

There will be four picket lines set up, with the industrial action running between 7.30am and 7.30pm on both days for three of them, although at West Cornwall Hospital in Penzance it will end at 5pm.

Picket lines will be outside the Royal Cornwall Hospital at Treliske in Truro, the West Cornwall Hospital in St Clare Street, Penzance, near Camborne Redruth Community Hospital in Barncoose Terrace, Redruth, and near Bodmin Hospital in Boundary Road, Bodmin.

It is after the necessary majority of members voted in favour of strike action last year.

Cornwall was not involved in the first strikes that took place on December 15 and 20, but is taking part in the second phase in a bid to build pressure on the government.

A spokesperson said: “Our members join thousands of RCN members across England in taking this action.

“Strike action is a last resort for nursing staff, but low pay in the profession is driving chronic understaffing, which is putting patients at risk and leaves nursing staff with no choice but to take action.”

There is no picket line for NHS Blood and Transport staff, who are invited to join other pickets.

Staff not scheduled to work on the day of strike action can also still attend the picket line to support colleagues.

Some staff will be withdrawn from the action in what is called ‘derogation’, to ensure that life-preserving care can still be delivered without breaking the strike.

The RCN added that the action was designed to “rectify the years of real-terms pay cuts that are pushing people out of the nursing profession and putting patient safety at risk.”

It went on to say: “Our pay position is clear. We expect to see a pay award that goes 5% above inflation (the retail prices index).

“We reached our pay position for 2022-23 in close collaboration with our members across the UK. We carried out an analysis of economic trends and NHS pay over the past decade. We also considered the staffing pressures facing the profession.”