MINISTERS TAKE NURSES TO COURT TO STOP STRIKE Court to sit today to decide on this matter

The government will go to the High Court today in a bid to stop nurses going on strike for 48 hours from 8pm on Sunday night until 8pm on Tuesday 2 May.

The Royal College of Nursing announced the latest strike after members narrowly rejected the government’s pay offer earlier this month.

Steve Barclay, the health secretary, says the union’s six-month strike mandate runs out at midnight on 1 May.

Last night, he wrote to RCN boss Pat Cullen asking her to cut short the planned strike to “avoid an unnecessary court hearing”.  He wrote: “I do not want this issue to go to court. I have a duty to protect patients, NHS workers and nurses who are RCN members, which means that I could not stand by and allow illegal action to take place.”

He said the RCN has instructed its legal team not to attend court and that he assumes this is because the union has also “concluded that this action is indeed unlawful”.

The RCN argues that the action on 2 May falls within the limits of the Trade Union Act 2016, and pointed out that no NHS employers are joining the legal action.

It also argues that pay restoration is crucial to ensuring patient safety in the NHS.