Make your voices heard over pay, urges RCN president Cecilia Anim

RCN president Cecilia Anim has urged nurses to make their voices heard following the announcement of a summer of protests over pay.

RCN president Cecilia Anim has urged nurses to make their voices heard following the announcement of a summer of protest over pay

RCN deputy president Rod Thomson and RCN president Cecilia Anim take questions at RCN congress.
 Picture: ©2017 john houlihan

An emergency resolution was passed overwhelmingly at RCN congress on Sunday in favour of a summer of planned protest activity, followed by an industrial action ballot, if the next government doesn't scrap the 1% pay cap.

The resolution was proposed after an RCN indicative pay poll completed by 52,000 members revealed nine out of 10 supported action short of a strike, while almost four out of five backed strikes.

In a question and answer session at congress on Sunday, Ms Anim said the fact so many nurses showed an appetite for some form of industrial action was 'unprecedented'.

She said: 'I never though I'd see the day that we are putting our members through [questions on strike action].

'It is the only way left to us, because for seven years there have been lots of challenges and suffering [within the profession].'

She said RCN Council was now 'coming up with a plan of action' for a summer of activities this year, followed by a formal ballot for industrial action, if the pay cap remains.

'My appeal to everyone in this room is to be part of this - don't leave it to the 50,000 people who already voted, as it is all of our responsibility.

'When we get a ballot for industrial action, we need 50% of our membership to vote - we have a tall task ahead and if we fail this it is our own responsibility.'

RCN deputy president Rod Thomson said: 'What has come back from the [indicative poll] has been an incredibly strong voice from member saying we have to do something about this.'

'We need to get 50% of eligible members voting, so if we have got 220,000 nurses working in the NHS, this means we have got to get over 100,000 of these people voting - it's going to be a big task.'

Mr Thompson added that next month's general election, and the summer parliamentary recess, would allow time to 'engage with our membership right across the UK and to ensure [nurses] understand what is being asked of them.'



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