British nurses will have to cut short their next strike after the High Court in London, seized by the Ministry of Health, declared illegal their walkout planned for May 2 on Thursday. Committed since December to an unprecedented social movement since its creation more than a century ago, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), the main union in the profession, recently announced a new 48-hour strike, from April 30 at 8:00 p.m., for salary increases.
Decided after the rejection of the government's latest proposals - 5% increase and an exceptional single payment of at least 1250 pounds (1425 euros) - this new strike must not, for the first time, spare the emergency services and intensive care or cancer units. But the High Court, heard by Health Minister Steve Barclay on Monday, found that the six-month period in which the RCN can stage strikes, following a vote by union members last year, expires on 1 May at midnight, making the strike on May 2 illegal.
RCN General Secretary Pat Cullen confirmed that nurses would not strike on May 2 but would walk off the job on the evening of April 30 and May 1, as planned. “After this weekend, we will organize a new vote for an additional six-month strike,” she announced. "The government wishes to continue to work constructively with the Royal College of Nursing," said Steve Barclay after the court ruling. “We are now asking them to do the right thing for the patients,” he added, calling on the union to spare emergency services and intensive care and cancer units.
Inflation, which exceeds 10% in the United Kingdom, has led to a cascade of social movements for several months to demand wage increases, both in public services and in the private sector. Railway workers announced Thursday new days of strike. Tens of thousands of teachers also walked out in England on Thursday.