The RCN has announced the dates for an indicative ballot on industrial action in England to determine the next steps in its campaign for fair NHS pay.
The ballot opens on 4 November and runs until 30 November. This decision follows a consultative ballot on the 3% pay award announced by ministers in July, in which 92% of RCN members who voted made clear that the award for 2021-22 is unacceptable.
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‘Patient care has to be at the heart of the recovery of the NHS, but this can only be done with investment in those needed to deliver it. Nursing staff are professionals and will continue to do everything they can for their patients. But they are exhausted and demoralised at being taken for granted by government and many say they are now considering leaving,’ said
‘With inflation, the current pay award leaves experienced staff with a real-terms pay cut. And now they face the prospect of their wages being hit further by the increase in National Insurance. Those in power need to understand that only by paying them fairly will they prevent an exodus of the very people they rely on to keep health and care services running.’
The ballot will ask members whether they are willing to take any form of industrial action, such as strike action or action short of strike, or whether they would support colleagues to take industrial action even if you would not yourself.
The result of the indicative ballot will not formally authorise industrial action, but it will be used to inform the next steps in the campaign for a 12.5% pay rise for nursing staff.
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‘Ministers must know how nurses feel but right now they are choosing to ignore the calls for a fair pay rise that finally recognises the sacrifice, skill and professionalism of the largest workforce in the NHS,’ said Graham Revie, Chair of the RCN Trade Union Committee.
‘We have to make sure the voice of nursing is impossible to ignore. I urge as many members as possible to take part and tell us whether they are willing to take industrial action and to turn things around for our patients and make it possible for us to give them the care they deserve.’