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RCN: Nurses are 'right to strike'

Nurses told they are "right to strike" as the Royal College of Nursing's (RCN) Council confirms it will meet on 10 January to discuss action over NHS pension reforms.

Professor Kath McCourt, Chair of the RCN Council pledged to "look closely" at the progress of pension negotiations in the run-up to the meeting in January, and claimed it will then be ready to do "whatever is necessary to protect our members' pensions".

The RCN has publicly said it will support industrial action taken by public sector workers on the 'Day of Action' scheduled for 30 November but chose not to ballot its members.

Paul Vaughan, West Midlands Regional director at the RCN, defended the organisation in its decision and rejects criticism the 10 January meeting is "too little too late".

He has also called upon the support of the private sector in the fight to protect NHS pensions.

"The pension reform has been made into a battle between private and public sector," he said.

"If the private sector thinks for one minute that their pensions will not be readjusted as a direct result of lower public sector pensions, then they are all absolutely deluded."

While Vaughan acknowledges nurses "could live" with a career-average structured pension, he told NiP they are right to strike with the current offers on the table.

He wholeheartedly believes striking nurses will not leave patients in danger, but fears people will be "going out of their way" to spot mistakes.

Vaughan advised RCN members to not feel "pressured" into covering the shifts of striking nurses on the 30 November, claiming "they are under no obligation to do so".

Royal College of Nursing