Around 270,000 nursing professionals working in the NHS are eligible to say whether they are willing to strike in a pay poll from the Royal College of Nursing (RCN).
The poll explicitly asks whether members want to strike, take ‘action short of a strike’ and work only contracted hours, demand to be paid for overtime and not complete duties expected of a higher pay band, or take no further action.
If members vote in favour of industrial action a formal ballot will then be held to meet legal requirements. The RCN said it believes low levels of pay are responsible in part for tens of thousands of unfilled nursing posts and that unsafe staffing levels harm the quality of patient care.
Chief executive Janet Davies said: ‘Patients won’t get the care they deserve from a nursing workforce that is short on numbers and low on morale. If the government expects to fill the soaring number of vacant jobs, it must value nursing staff more than it has in recent years. The false economy is driving people away from the profession.
‘Whatever nurses decide it is becoming clear that their goodwill cannot be relied on indefinitely.’
RCN members working in the NHS, or who are on NHS terms and conditions, are by the RCN urged to take part in the pay-poll. A valid membership number must be entered for a vote to count.
The poll can be accessed here.