The RCN is set to support a Day of Action on 30 November as part of the campaign against changes to public sector pensions. Members of some other trade unions may be striking on that day but the RCN has not taken the decision to ballot its members on industrial action just yet.
Instead, it will be providing campaign materials and support to members who want to hold rallies and raise public awareness about how the proposed changes will affect them. You can find out more about this on the RCN's Frontline First website.
In light of this, the RCN felt it would be useful to offer some guidance to student members on situations that may arise on 30 November. To confirm, RCN members will not be taking industrial action on that day.
Guidance for student members
- As students, you will be expected to be at work or at university as normal on 30 November. You will be able to show support for the Day of Action in your own time (e.g. during your breaks).
- If you have a day off, do please support your local events - pensions may not affect you now but they will in time.
- RCN members have been asked not to do anything that will undermine the lawful industrial action of another union. The RCN has issued advice for members about this.
- If you are due to be in university on that day, it may be the case that your lecturers will be undertaking industrial action. If so, the university will inform you as to what arrangements there will be in place on the day for you.
- If you are due to be on placement, try to find out in advance what is happening in your clinical area and whether or not there will be adequate and safe support for you as a student.
- If you are unsure of the support available then please contact your university in advance. The support does not necessarily have to be your named mentor but would need to be a registered health care professional.
- If you turn up on the day and there is not adequate support, or you are anxious, then please contact your university for further guidance.
- Do remember that you cannot participate in any care for which you are not trained or are not competent or confident to provide.
- Do not get caught up in covering for staff who are not present.
- If you are working with registered nurses, be aware that under the Nursing and Midwifery Council Code (NMC), they must ensure that everyone they are responsible for is supervised and supported.
- Please remember that you are supernumerary to ward or unit staffing numbers and should not be counted in the staffing numbers.
- Be aware and familiarise yourself with the NMC guidance to nursing students.
Read more about the background to the pensions debate.