Pat Cullen grew up in Tyrone and saw enough to put her off conflict for life. She and three sisters became nurses. In the same interview, she threw out an olive branch to Whitehall – start talking and we can get a deal.
The more that is heard from Ms Cullen, I suspect, the less sympathy there will be for the hardline Tory refusal to negotiate. The RCN had never engaged in strike action and they have been driven to it by being taken advantage of for too long.
In Scotland, the roadmap is different but comes to roughly the same place. The RCN is planning its first ever strike in response to the Scottish Government imposing a pay deal despite 82 per cent of RCN members rejecting an average increase of 7.5 per cent.
Amidst all this, Rishi Sunak comes up with a daft, back of an envelope idea of sueing unions and sacking staff for going on strike. History is littered with such doomed threats and Sunak’s decision to add fuel to current fires is a
startling guide to his calibre.
Vilifying the RCN is not a promising task and neither threatening nor imposing settlements will win many hearts or minds - especially in the face of Ms Cullen. So start talking.