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Vote now for further nursing strikes: 'the public backs you'

16 Jun 2023

New polling shows increasing public support for nursing strikes as RCN plans day of action to secure required legal turnout in current strike ballot.

Female nurse holds banner reading 'Vote to strike'. Behind her is a big yellow X

With just one week to go until our strike ballot in England closes, we’re urging all members to promote the vote and help protect the NHS on a day of action this coming Monday 19 June.  

Leaflets will be available for members to collect and distribute at NHS workplaces across England in our biggest get-out-the-vote push in a single day. Find your nearest leaflet collection point as well as read, download and print the leaflet yourself now.  

It comes as new polling shows public support for nursing strikes is higher than before our first strikes in December last year. Of those polled, 62% said they support nursing strikes – the highest level of support for any profession taking strike action. More than eight in 10 (82%) said they support a pay rise for nurses.  

RCN General Secretary & Chief Executive Pat Cullen said: “Public support this year has been immense but nursing staff have not taken it for granted. To know that our patients still support our campaign for fair pay is a real shot in the arm. Nurses should see that the public backs them and they can back themselves. 

“The patients who came onto picket lines, many straight from a hospital bed, gave a real boost to nursing staff who worried about leaving patients. That public support is unwavering must focus attention in Downing Street. 

“Rishi Sunak must look closely at the strong backing we have and understand this is unfinished business. When you do the right thing by nurses, you do the right thing by patients. 

“Voters of all parties are still with us, and it appears he urgently needs to get them back on side this summer. Next month, as we celebrate 75 years of the NHS, this will be an election issue too.” 

We’re encouraging all eligible members to return their ballot papers in the pre-paid, first-class envelopes they’ve been sent as soon as possible.  

Even though the ballot closes at midnight on Friday 23 June, ballot papers must be returned by post, meaning members should leave adequate time for them to arrive. Ballot papers that arrive after midnight on Friday 23 June will not be counted.  

We’re recommending members vote “yes” to further strike action to force the UK government to return to negotiations and improve the NHS pay award for nursing staff in England. But whichever way you want to vote, it’s important that you do vote.  

The law on strike action says there must be at least a 50% turnout in ballots like this for strikes to go ahead. We’re conducting our ballot differently this time, meaning if this threshold is met and the majority of eligible members vote “yes” to strike, we’ll be able to stage strike action at all NHS employers in England. If the threshold is missed, we won’t be able to stage strike action anywhere.  

Your vote – no matter how you vote – is vital.  

Page last updated - 14/11/2023