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Vote to strike: RCN members urged to support industrial action in strike ballot over NHS pay 

Strike Hub

Visit our strike hub to stay up to date with new details about strike action, learn about strike benefit, donate to our strike fund and more.
9 Aug 2022

Hundreds of thousands of nursing staff in England and Wales will soon have the chance to vote on whether to take historic strike action. 

RCN members ballot for industrial strike action in England and Wales opens 13 October

Our postal ballot on industrial action will open on 15 September.
We will encourage RCN members working for the NHS in England and Wales, on Agenda for Change contracts, to vote in favour of strike action.
Eligible members will receive their ballot in the post and will have four weeks to respond, with the vote closing on 13 October. We need you to urgently check that we have your up-to-date home address, employer details and job title so that every eligible member receives their postal ballot.
If enough members vote for industrial action, it will be the first time in RCN history that members in England and Wales go on strike. RCN Council, made up of elected members, has increased our strike fund to £50 million (up from £35 million) to provide some financial support to members who lose earnings during any industrial action.
The ballot has been called by members in response to the latest NHS pay award. We had asked for a fully funded pay rise of 5% above inflation, which is currently 11.8%, to combat years of wage stagnation and the cost-of-living crisis. Instead, the government announced a much lower pay award of £1,400 for all NHS pay bands, enhanced for the top of Band 6 and band 7 so their pay award becomes 4%. This leaves an experienced nurse over £1,000 worse off in real terms.
Industrial action is a last resort, but the current NHS staffing crisis is causing unacceptable risk to patients and nursing staff. That’s why we’re urging members to vote in favour of industrial action.
A recent poll showed that you also have public support, with nearly two-thirds of people in England saying they’d back nursing staff striking.
Nursing staff in Northern Ireland are still awaiting a formal pay announcement. In Scotland, we have urged eligible members to reject a 5% pay offer. The Scottish ballot, which also asked if members would take industrial action, has now closed.
Pat Cullen, RCN General Secretary & Chief Executive, said: “Nursing staff will stop at nothing to protect their patients. Staff shortages are putting patient safety at risk and the government’s failure to listen has left us with no choice but to advocate for strike action.
"A lifetime of service must never mean a lifetime of poverty. Ministers’ refusal to recognise the skill and responsibility of the job is pushing people out of the profession.

“The next prime minister must change course urgently.”

Carol Popplestone, Chair of RCN Council, said: “After years of underpayment and staff shortages, the fight for fair pay must strengthen. Your vote in the upcoming ballot will be essential to turning the tide on low pay.

“Please urgently check we have your up-to-date home addresses, employer details and job title so you can cast your vote.

"This year’s pay award does not help you with the rising cost of living. It will do nothing to help to recruit or retain more nursing staff where you work and will not keep patients safe."  


Page last updated - 11/02/2023