Nurses’ strike to be cut short as high court rules it ‘partly unlawful’

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The RCN strike will be cut short after the high court ruled it “partly unlawful.”

The Royal College of Nurses (RCN) strike due to start on Sunday (April 30) has been cut short after a high court judge ruled it as being “partly unlawful”. Tens of thousands of nurses were due to take part, but lawyers for Health Secretary, Steve Barclay,  argued the RCN did not have a mandate for a planned 48-hour strike.

The judge ruled that the RCN’s six-month mandate for strike action would have lapsed by Tuesday. Now, the nurses’ strike will end on bank holiday Monday instead.

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The case was brought forward after NHS Employers said it believed the last day of the planned strike was not covered by the mandate as the ballots closed on November 2, 2022 at midday. It had argued that could invalidate the whole strike and urged the government to look into the case.

The government contested that the part of the strike that fell on Tuesday May 2 was unlawful. Ahead of the court hearing the RCN said it would have to accept the judgement as it would "never do anything illegal".

But it accused Health Secretary Steve Barclay of bullying nurses and using "draconian anti-trade union legislation".

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