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'Don’t let this be the end'

20 Jun 2023

Vote now in NHS strike ballot, as RCN leader says 'not voting helps the government'.

Pat Cullen speaks to members on picket line

With just days to go until our NHS strike ballot for England closes, RCN General Secretary & Chief Executive Pat Cullen is warning that unless enough members send their ballot papers by post the RCN's strike hits the 'end of the road'.

The government's consistent refusal to explore or allow secure online voting risks bringing an end to the RCN's strike unless nurses and support workers find and send back papers in the post. They should be posted immediately in the free envelope provided to stand the best chance of being received by Friday 23 June.

By law, at least 50% of members working for the NHS in England must vote in the ballot for the RCN to be able to keep pressure on government that started last year. That’s equivalent to around 150,000 RCN nurses and support workers. For any action to then take place, the majority of them must say ‘yes’ to strikes. But currently, tens of thousands of votes must be cast.

RCN General Secretary & Chief Executive Pat Cullen said: “Your vote, no matter how you vote, could be the difference between us being able to influence the UK government to award a higher pay rise for NHS nursing staff, or not. Not voting at all only helps government – they will wrongly conclude that nursing staff are content for themselves, the NHS and patients.

“We must beat the government at its own game, pull out all the stops and get those ballot papers back in time by the post service.

“If we miss this vital opportunity, our action has hit the end of the road.'

The plea comes as the so-called anti-strike bill returns to parliament tomorrow. The proposed legislation, being pushed through by the UK government, seeks to further hamper the rights of striking workers.

Members are urged to remember that striking remains lawful. However, the government is again attempting to strip workers of their rights. Working with the RCN, members of the House of Lords including senior nurse, the Lord Bishop of London, have fought for worker's rights and inflicted two defeats of the Government.   

Page last updated - 18/11/2023