Royal College of Nursing launches strike ballot

Hospital pressures

The Royal College of Nursing has launched its biggest strike ballot in its 106-year history.

More than 300,000 members, including nursing staff across Kent, are being contacted today (October 6) about the possibility of taking strike action.

RCN General Secretary & Chief Executive Pat Cullen said: “We are understaffed, undervalued and underpaid. For years our profession has been pushed to the edge, and now patient safety is paying the price. We can’t stand by and watch our colleagues and patients suffer anymore.

“Though strike action is a last resort, it is a powerful tool for change. And we must demand that change. Enough is enough. I urge you to vote ‘yes’ in this ballot.”

The ballot relates to NHS pay. A below inflation NHS pay award has been announced in England and Wales, and a below inflation NHS pay offer has been made in Scotland.

The RCN is campaigning for a pay rise of 5% above inflation to overcome a decade of real-terms pay cuts, support nursing staff through the cost-of-living crisis and recognise their safety critical skills.
Pat Cullen said: “Patient care is at risk because of chronic staff shortages, but nursing staff can’t afford to join or stay in the profession. There are tens of thousands of unfilled nursing jobs across the UK. Unless governments start to value and pay nursing staff properly, there will be a further exodus, adding more pressure to an overstretched system.”

The law states that strike ballots must attract at least a 50% turnout and the majority must vote yes for strike action to be lawful.

Ballot papers are being sent by first class post to eligible members by Civica Election Services.

36 Comments

  1. Having been in hospital recently,i saw first hand how demoralised nurses feel. When they earn less than supermarkets workers,no wonder they need more money

  2. It is part of the Government’s strategy to so undermine the NHS that it collapses, to be replaced by US style private medical care and insurance.

  3. And it appears to be the policy of the isleofthanetnews to support the Labour party on health matters whatever the news.

    What happened about reporting of the QEQM doctor struck off recently reported in most other media.

    Stop cancelling news that doesn’t fit your opinions.

  4. Quite right Barry. I was a branch secretary for NUPE (now UNISON) -the other organisation that represents nursing staff. Good that the RCN is now acting like a proper union. Successive governments outrageously underpay nurses and rely on their loyalty to patient. This country has its priorities badly warped. Stop paying for wars all over the globe and paying dodgy contractors for overcharged stuff and pay our nurses and other key workers instead!

    • Peter are you having a laugh, these are the same nurse’s that looked after those very sick people during covid and still do without proper protection in many cases and stayed away from their families putting patients first and sometimes doing double shifts as they didn’t want to leave a ward with not enough nurses to cover the shifts, nurses always but always put their patients first and foremost, the last time I stayed in hospital one nurse stayed an extra 3 hours plus as she was on her own waiting for emergency staffing to be found less than 9 hours later she was back doing her next shift, since the last bad dose of covid our nurses have been treated like shite and I for one think they deserve much better than this government has treated them as they have also the police, fire service, and ambulance service, give them a proper decent wage and you will find more nurses will stay or come back to nursing, seems to me that you have forgotten about the last 2 years, the one abiding thing that I have noticed the times I have been in hospital each and every person is treated with respect and cared for the same every day regardless of who you are be it a loud mouth drunk moaning about everything or royal ( a Duke I was in hospital same ward with) about 11 years ago.

        • In my view smoking should be banned full stop. But some people only smoke to release the stress and I understand that so no nurses can only smoke outside the hospital so apart from harming themselves and apart from the smoke on breath really it’s up to them. If it was weed then that would be another matter.

  5. Peter – these are outrageous comments. Public sector workers are vital for any civilised society – firefighters, ambulance paramedics, police officers, coast guards AND NURSES. They should be paid more than private sectors and our tax and revenue system should reflect that.

      • So what is the answer then Peter? I joined my first Union in 1958, and I am still a (Retired) member of one! I learned that Unions will try and negotiate better wages and conditions for their members, but often employers become intransigent, and won’t! The Unions then have only one option. to withdraw their labour! The Germans have a law that puts worker representatives on the board of all companies with more than 250 employees, frequently Trade Unionists. This way the company, and unions can negotiate from a position of mutual self interest!

      • So what is the answer then Peter? I joined my first Union in 1958, and I am still a (Retired) member of one! I learned that Unions will try and negotiate better wages and conditions for their members, but often employers become intransigent, and won’t! The Unions then have only one option. to withdraw their labour! The Germans have a law that puts worker representatives on the board of all companies with more than 250 employees, frequently Trade Unionists. This way the company, and unions can negotiate from a position of mutual self interest! I have never made this known before, because it was NAZI law, but is still kept on the books, like some other NAZI laws some people will be surprised to learn!

        • I don’t know what happened there, but my first attempt to reply to Peter’s dumb comment, failed! Now its back again, so I made my point twice!

        • It may have begun as, “… a NAZI law…”. It has been part of the German Constitution (West) since WW2.

      • When all else fails, the only option left is direct action. Peter, you’re a myopic, blinkered fool. If you don’t support nurses striking for better pay and better working conditions, are you thus saying that you support the Tory privatisation, via demoralisation of staff so they can point at it and go “look private works better than this”? I agree with others in the thread. You really do show yourself up to be an absolute nobhead with no empathy for the plight of the working classes. If you were backing the working classes, you’d understand exactly why strikes are necessary.

        So, you backing the strikers, or the Tories dismantling the nhs?

        • anon if you are going to throw insults at least have the courtesy and courage to publish your real name.

  6. You really are a knobhead !

    You sound more tory than the Tories

    Nearly every tory government leads to strikes and riots as they try and screw the working classes. Eventually we say enough is enough and stand up against the tory governments.

    Its happening again.

  7. Striking is always a last resort. Remember when everyone was clapping NHS staff! Many realised their worth and all the other workers who kept this country going through the pandemic. No strike action will take place where patients’ lives are put at risk. Comparing salaries with other workers isn’t really the point. All workers have a right to afford the basics in life; housing, food and warmth and a bit more for a few luxuries. There are so many double standards in this society. Rich people are given huge bonuses and salaries to encourage harder work, the poorer in society are paid less to work harder; lack of job security, 0 hours contracts, minimum wages. Do we really accept that as one of the richest countries in the world, people have to rely on food banks and handouts to pay for the most basic of life’s needs?

  8. lets hope this mess can be rectified at the next general election – the writings on the wall for craigy boy and his cabal

  9. There’s a great Channel 5 documentary about “The Winter of Discontent” showing ATM. Give it a watch.
    I know from personal experience within the PCS & CPSA that many of those who sit around Whitley tables on facility time and instigate strike ballots hold a certain political view of the world. Very much on tune with the SWP. To them public political posturing is important. The fact that their members will lose more pay by absenting themselves from work than any strike will ever deliver appears irrelevant.
    Shame on them!
    As for parity with supermarket workers? Do me a favour! A shelf stacker can only dream of a student nurse’s income.

  10. It is very easy to comment online in support of the NHS, but a FAR better way is to live a healthier lifestyle, and therefore ease the burden on the NHS (and that applies to many medical staff too – it should be illegal for nurses to stand outside hospitals smoking!).

    So, cancel the pizza order, throw away the X boxes – and get outside walking!!

        • Is that remark about me sitting indoors ?

          You dont know me ?

          I work 6 days aweek doing manual work any time I get off I like to do proper cycling. Been doing this for decades.

          So I am happy you think I just sit I doors.

          But also think of other people who cant live your perfect life style. Who are so knackered after doing their 12 hrs shift, havent got time to cook or exercise.

          Peter not everything is black and white

          • Costa you are so right, so many live in cloud cuckoo land and never think that there is a reason why someone does what they do especially when doing 72 hours a week in a hospital.

          • No, you’re jumping to conclusions… just like you do with me. Of course I care about nurses and their pay, but my point that zoomed completely over your head is that the government can’t just keep pumping endless money into a service that is coping with one of the world’s fattest and laziest populations. WE need to support them with our own actions, not just words.

          • Peter putting money in to the NHS as you say the government cannot afford to keep doing it that goes for which ever party is in charge,but those who do the work can expect to get a living wage not a cut in wades in reality since 2008 and that goes for everyone of the other emergency services. Somehow governments should separate wages from the service given and without going to be privatisation.

      • Just little things can make a difference: get off a bus a stop or two earlier to walk further, drink diet coke instead of the sugary stuff. Even doctors now are starting to prescribe exercise instead of tablets for both physical and mental ailments, something they should’ve done a long time ago.

        I owe my life to the NHS, but I’m also determined not to burden them more but leading an unhealthy lifestyle (and by all means keep little treats; we had a pizza and a beer last night – after walking 9 very hilly miles in the Kent weald).

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