More than 60 per cent of RCN members who took part in a ballot on changes to the NHS pension have voted to reject the government's proposals.
The vote closed yesterday (27 February), and 65,759 votes were cast - a turnout of just 16 per cent. Of those taking part, 62 per cent voted to reject the proposals, with 37 per cent saying they were prepared to accept the changes.
RCN chief executive and general secretary, Dr Peter Carter (pictured), said: 'It's clear when I listen to nurses from around the UK, that the pressures facing them are immense; not just on the pensions issue, but also the prospect of a massive NHS reorganisation, the threat of redundancy, a pay freeze and deteriorating staffing levels.
'Despite all this, nurses and healthcare assistants continue to put the interests of their patients first.'
He said the number one concern with the proposed reform was the prospect of nurses working in a physically demanding job until the age of 68. Under the government's plans, this would come into effect in 2046.
'The government has acknowledged the physical demands of professions such as the police, who are not facing the prospect of working until they are nearly 70.
'We vehemently believe the demands of nursing mean that the same should apply to our profession and we are committed to stepping up campaigning on this issue to make the government change its mind,' Dr Carter added.
Professor Kath McCourt, chair of RCN Council said she was disappointed at the low turnout in the ballot, but added: 'The members who voted expressed a clear view, showing their anger at the government proposals. We will now, as a matter of urgency, meet with other unions who are at varying stages in their own member consultations.'