The results of the RCN’s indicative ballots of members working on Agenda for Change contracts in England and Wales have been announced.
In England, 23% of eligible members voted, with 89% of those saying they’d be willing to take action short of strike. 54% of voters said they’d be willing to withdraw their labour in strike action. In Wales, 29% of eligible members voted, with 91% of those saying they’d be willing to take action short of strike. 56% of voters said they’d be willing to withdraw their labour in strike action.
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‘Nursing staff do not consider industrial action lightly, but they will consider it if it means standing up for patients and their profession,’ said Interim Chair of RCN Council Carol Popplestone.
‘To reduce the risk to patients, politicians need to urgently boost our ranks by recruiting and retaining more nurses. Our members feel disrespected and devalued. They are expected to work in unsafe conditions, yet their pleas for help go unanswered. This drives many out of the profession because they are not prepared to put patients at risk.’
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The ballots were called after the vast majority of members who responded in previous consultations said the 3% NHS pay award for 2021/22 is unacceptable.
‘Ministers must stop pulling the wool over the public’s eyes and put patients’ interests above political point-scoring. There is a strong signal to Governments that the nursing voice must be heard and acted on,’ said Graham Revie.
‘Politicians boast about how many more nurses they’ve recruited but it’s just one side of the story. With colleagues voting with their feet and tens of thousands of unfilled vacancies, patients can’t get the care they deserve.’