Nurses back plan to ballot for strikes over pay

Posted May 17, 2017

Members of the Royal College of Nursing voted overwhelmingly to support a ballot for industrial action.

About 52,000 of the 270,000 RCN members eligible to vote took part.

The RCN has warned the government that it will launch a formal ballot on strike action this year unless the 1% pay cap is lifted.

"Back in 2014 we took the historic decision to take industrial action for the first time in our 134-year history".

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RCN general secretary Janet Davies has written to the Prime Minister's office, saying that the conference was "extremely dissatisfied" with her response.

Commenting on the ballot result, Jon Skewes, the Royal College of Midwives' director of policy, employment relations and communications, said: "NHS staff have now seen seven years of pay restraint and with at least another three years on the horizon".

Brown said the preliminary pay poll has already shown that members "can't and won't take any more" in an "unprecedented show of anger and frustration" over the pay cap.

"It's a message to all parties that the crisis in nursing recruitment must be put centre stage in this election", he added.

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"The current conditions in the NHS are driving people out of the profession and putting new people off entering it".

Farron, who also promised a 1p hike in income tax in order to raise another £6bn for the health service, said scrapping the pay cap is a fully costed pledge.

"Our argument is not with patients - this is about ensuring that they get the safe and effective care they need".

Meanwhile, a separate report from the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) warned that cuts to services in England are putting children's health at risk.

"When finances are tight, nursing budgets are slashed and patients can pay the highest price".

"Continuing pay restraint is a disastrous, unsustainable policy for maternity services and the NHS. We are working with other NHS trade unions to break the Government's policy of pay restraint".

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

Debbie Fagan, chief nurse and quality officer at NHS Southport and Formby CCG, said: "I will have been a nurse for 28 years in June and having worked in both hospitals and in community settings before I started working in commissioning I always think about how it comes back to getting the quality of nursing right".

A spokesman for the Welsh Government said: "We are proud of our nurses and we work to support them in Wales".