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NHS Nurses to Vote on Strike Action Over Cap on Wages

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has asked its UK wide around 270,000 members whether they want to take industrial action in protest at continuing cuts to their pay.

The RCN has launched a Poll asking if RCN members want to strike or take other forms of action, although a separate formal ballot would be required by law before any industrial action.

The nurses will also be asked if they are willing to take other forms of industrial action, such as only working their contracted hours, demanding to be paid for overtime and not completing duties expected of a higher pay band.

The poll has started from 13th April 2017 and closes on 7th May 2017. The union will decide whether to issue a formal ballot or not after the result of the poll. The result will be announced at the RCN's annual congress in Liverpool in the middle of next month.

According to the RCN, the government has imposed a 14 per cent real-terms cut on nursing wages since 2010. The low levels of pay are responsible in part for tens of thousands of vacant nursing posts, and that unsafe staffing levels harm the quality of patient care. A formal pay cap of 1 per cent was introduced in 2015 after year-on-year pay freezes in the previous parliament.

Janet Davies, the Chief Executive & General Secretary of RCN said that the Patients won’t get the care they deserve because a public sector pay rise caps were running a “recruitment and retention crisis” in the profession.

She further added that if the government wants to fill the rising number of vacant nursing post then they must value nursing staff more than it has in recent years.

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