...By Henry George for TDPel Media.
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has been embroiled in a civil war, with a misogynistic culture and reports of sexual harassment and bullying.
Pat Cullen, the union’s leader, has been receiving threatening messages to her home address, marking a terrifying escalation of the abuse.
The RCN has been divided over the Government’s five per cent pay rise offer, with 54% of members voting to reject it.
The union has also been beset by leadership controversies, with former leaders accused of ill health, suspensions, and pay blunders.
In response, Cullen commissioned an investigation into the RCN’s culture, which found a culture of bullying, misogyny, and sexual harassment.
NHS strike Royal College Nursing general secretary Pat Cullen
The RCN is seeking advice from the police and regulators over the fraudulent addition of names to an anonymous petition for a no-confidence vote in Cullen.
The battle between factions within the union is far from over.
Royal College of Nursing (RCN) leader Pat Cullen (left) appearing on the BBC ‘s Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg
Leanne Patrick, a gender-based violence specialist nurse and RCN member, attended the union’s latest meeting, where Cullen answered questions about the pay deal and the abuse.
Patrick believes that Cullen still has the support of most RCN members, who are proud of her efforts to fight for a pay deal while cleaning up the union’s culture.
Dame Donna Kinnair
However, some insiders say that Cullen’s failure to secure the backing of 54% of RCN members over the pay offer suggests it is time for her to leave.
The RCN council is now dominated by women, and there is a sense that things have improved, but the lack of confidence that members have in the full-time leadership stems from historical conflicts between the council and executive.
The battle within the RCN is unlikely to conclude anytime soon, with tensions reportedly continuing and a second strike mandate unlikely to be secured.