RCN moves one step closer to industrial action ballot in Northern Ireland

College is consulting members over possible strike ballot over non-existent pay award 

College is consulting members over possible strike ballot over non-existent pay award 

Nurses in Northern Ireland are being asked if they would take the first step towards potential industrial action over the absence of a pay award.

Picture: iStock

The RCN will consult members in Northern Ireland on Agenda for Change contracts to see if they are willing to be formally balloted over the continuing non-existence of an award for 2018-19.

Nursing staff in England, Scotland and Wales have already received their pay awards for the current year, backdated to April.


However, in Northern Ireland no pay award has been implemented amid ongoing political instability, which has seen the country without a devolved government for almost two years. 

The political deadlock has left NHS nurses in the country without a pay rise for more than two years.

RCN Northern Ireland board chair Fiona Devlin said: 'Nurses’ pay in Northern Ireland has fallen significantly behind the other three UK countries, despite the fact that we are supposed to have a four-country framework for pay, terms and conditions.’

'Enough is enough'

She added: 'We have unprecedented pressures in the health and social care system that are made even worse by 1,800 vacant nursing posts across the country. Enough is enough.

‘Our future course of action in relation to pay will be determined by what our members tell us.’

The RCN, along with the other health unions in Northern Ireland, has been in discussion with the Department of Health Northern Ireland (DHNI) for months in relation to a pay award for 2018-19.

The unions asked the DHNI to fund an interim 3% pay award for staff on Agenda for Change pay, terms and conditions, but it has said it is currently unable to fund this award.


The consultation will launch on Monday 12 November, and RCN members in Northern Ireland will have until Monday 26 November to indicate whether they are prepared to be balloted on taking industrial action in pursuit of a fair pay award.

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