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Nurses Vote to Strike Over 1 per cent Pay Rise

The Royal College of Nursing has announced that nurses have voted overwhelmingly to pursue a ballot for UK-wide strike action this summer in protest at below-inflation pay rises.

In the consultative ballot, nearly four out of five members (78 per cent) of the Royal College of Nursing backed a walkout, while 91 per cent favoured industrial action short of a strike. The large majorities reflect growing dissatisfaction within the nursing profession over wages.

The latest figures show around 40,000 vacant nurse posts in England, with 12,000 more health care support worker vacancies. Community care and mental health are experiencing the greatest shortages.

The RCN has warned that low pay scale is partly responsible for tens of thousands of vacant posts. Since 2010, nurses have experienced a 14 per cent pay cut in real terms because of the government’s cap on public sector pay. In 2015, a formal pay cap of 1% was introduced.

The chairman of the RCN Council, Michael Brown said that the member of the RCN have given very clear message that they can’t and won’t take any more.

The result of the ballot shows the anger and frustration over the Government’s pay policy. Now the Politicians must listen and tell what they will do about nursing pay. RCN is demanding answers on behalf of patients as well as nursing staff, he added.

Commenting on the ballot result, the director of policy, employment relations and communications at Royal College of Midwives’, Jon Skewes said that the NHS staff have now seen 7 years of pay restraint and with at least another 3 years on the horizon. Continuing pay restraint is a disastrous, unjustifiable policy for maternity services and the National Health Service. RCM is working with other NHS trade unions to break the government’s policy of pay restraint.

The chair of the British Medical Association council, Dr Mark Porter said that the Year after year of real-terms pay cuts have had a damaging impact on the morale of frontline NHS staff.

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