British nurses will strike over pay, the Royal College of Nursing said on Wednesday, announcing the first UK-wide strike action in the union’s 106-year history.

The move comes amid a cost-of-living crisis that the union says has left its members struggling to feed their families and pay their bills.

The industrial action is expected to begin before the end of the year, with dates to be announced soon.

Bosses in the state-funded National Health Service, NHS, said in September that nurses were skipping meals to feed and clothe their children and were struggling to afford rising transport costs.

One in four hospitals has set up foodbanks to support staff, NHS Providers, which represents hospital groups in England.

The RCN is calling for a pay rise of five percent above inflation.

Barclay said the government would work to limit the impact of the strikes on patients in a sector already hit by staff shortages since Brexit and a backlog of appointment delays since the pandemic.