By G9ija

he Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has confirmed that its members will embark on industrial action in England, Wales and Northern Ireland on December 15 and 20 December.

The decision was reached following the refusal of the British government to enter pay talks.

BBC reported that nurses across the UK will go on strike for the first time over two days in the fortnight before Christmas after ministers rejected their pleas for formal talks over NHS pay.

RCN said its members would stage national strikes – the first in its 106-year history on these two days which would last for 12 hours on both days – most likely between 8 am and 8 pm.

The industrial action will severely disrupt care and is likely to be the first in a series of strikes over the winter and into the spring by other NHS staff, including junior doctors and ambulance workers.

The RCN said it had confirmed the dates after the UK government turned down its offer of formal, detailed negotiations as an alternative to industrial action.

“Ministers have had more than two weeks since we confirmed that our members felt such injustice that they would strike for the first time,” said the RCN general secretary, Pat Cullen.

“My offer of formal negotiations was declined and, instead, ministers have chosen strike action.

“They have the power and the means to stop this by opening serious talks that address our dispute. Nursing staff have had enough of being taken for granted, enough of low pay and unsafe staffing levels, enough of not being able to give our patients the care they deserve.”