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Calling members for the next stage in our fight for Fair Pay For Nursing

Nicky Hughes 3 Nov 2021

RCN Wales’ Associate Director of Nursing Nicky Hughes on the indicative ballot for NHS members in Wales and England, which opens on 4 November 2021, and the next stage in the campaign for Fair Pay for Nursing

Lots has happened in RCN Wales since the end of the consultative ballot in September 2021 when you made your voice clear. We had the best turnout ever and a resounding 93.9% of you told us that the 3% pay award was unacceptable.

Your elected members have been working hard behind the scenes to consider the next steps in the campaign.

On 13 October 2021, RCN Wales lodged a trade dispute with Welsh Government which enabled us to inform them formally that the pay award is unacceptable and that our members were calling for a percentage increase in the pay award across all bands. On writing to the Minister for Health and Social Services we urged her to meet with us in a 7-day period to open discussions.

The Minister responded to us saying that she was not in a position to discuss increasing the pay award percentage unless further funding came from the UK Government. Essentially, she refused to meet with us which is a disgrace.

As the Minister would not open discussions your elected members decided that we move to an indicative ballot on industrial action. 

As you may be aware moving to any form of industrial action is a last resort and there are stringent legal processes that have to be followed. If we were to enter a legal ballot on industrial action by law 50 % of RCN Members in Wales would need to vote and a simple majority i.e., 51% of those who voted need to vote in favour of action.

To this end, moving to an indicative ballot, which is the step before a legal statutory ballot, enables us to get a feel for what action you are prepared to take in the fight for a fair pay rise that values the nursing profession and the roles you undertake.

The ballot will talk about action short of strike and strike action. Action short of strike is commonly known a working to rule or withdrawal of good will. This will include actions such as only working the hours you are paid for, taking your proper breaks, and not undertaking any duties that sit outside your contract. Strike action is a complete withdrawal of labour meaning for part or all of a day you will not attend your shift. Further information and FAQ’s will be published on our website next week.

Please watch out for emails from Civica – the first will arrive shortly after 09.00 on 4 November 2021 and you will have reminders every Tuesday and Thursday throughout the ballot. Remember to update you details at My RCN to ensure you get a vote and check your span folder if you don’t receive an email to your inbox.

Please look out for your representatives in your organisations who will be distributing the pay campaign materials and keep the conversation about pay alive with colleagues, fellow members family and friends,

Your support and activity does make a difference so a big THANKYOU!

I would be interested to hear your thoughts on the recent ballot and our pay campaign. You can tweet me – @nichughes1 – or email Take care and stay safe.


Nicky Hughes

Associate Director of Nursing (Employment Relations) RCN Wales

Nicky has 30 years experience of working in the NHS in the specialities of inpatient acute medicine and the community setting, where she managed frontline services such as District Nursing, Prison Nursing, and those caring for the homeless and asylum seekers. In addition she commissioned care from the nursing home sector.

Page last updated - 03/04/2022