Health Secretary Steve Barclay has said he plans to “pursue legal action” over the Royal College of Nursing’s upcoming strike action.
In a statement, Mr Barclay said: “Following a request from NHS Employers, I have regretfully provided notice of my intent to pursue legal action to ask the courts to declare the Royal College of Nursing’s upcoming strike action planned for 30 April to 2 May to be unlawful.
“The government firmly believes in the right to strike, but it is vital that any industrial action is lawful and I have no choice but to take action.”
Pat Cullen, the RCN general secretary and chief executive, branded the move “nakedly political”.
“Nurses will not be gagged in this way by a bullying government,” a statement said.
“We are clear that court arguments should only relate to 2 May and not the 30 April and 1 May.
“The government is now desperate to silence nurses rather than address this properly. We want to be in the negotiating room, not the courtroom.”