The ballot will be managed externally by the Electoral Reform Service and run from 10 to 28 February.
Members in Guernsey and Alderney who are eligible to vote will be able to have their say via the postal ballot as to whether or not they wish to undertake industrial action. If the response is “yes” then action will take place.
This is a momentous decision for the RCN and has undergone rigorous scrutiny by RCN Council who signed off the ballot papers today (24 January). It is only the second time in the 103-year history of the College that such a ballot will be undertaken.
Safety of patients remains paramount and members will not undertake any action that puts patients at risk. Members remain very grateful for the incredible support they have received from the public throughout their campaign for pay equality.
Guernsey’s Independent Disputes Officer approached the unions on Wednesday (22 January) to seek resolution via a dispute tribunal. The RCN will work with its union partners to contribute fully to this process but will not postpone the ballot because of it. If a tribunal resolves the deadlock or the States come back with an improved offer and clear timetabled commitment to resolve the lack of pay equality, RCN members will be pleased to reconsider action.
Patricia Marquis, RCN Regional Director, said: “It’s not too late. Our door remains open for discussion. No one wants to take this massive step, but our members have been left with no choice. They have been very clear in their instruction to us: they want equal pay for work of equal value. They don’t feel valued, they feel demoralised and some are seriously considering whether they even stay nursing on Guernsey now. The States need to listen to our concerns and engage fully to agree a resolution.
“Until December 2019, members of the RCN had never been on strike anywhere. This ended in December when nurses in Northern Ireland took action over pay and severe staffing concerns. Following a short period of strike action, a new government was formed and was able to come to a settlement to end the strikes. We hope that all our members will use this once in a lifetime opportunity to have their say.”