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Nurses to be balloted on next steps in dispute over Scottish Government’s 4% pay offer

RCN Scotland will hold an indicative ballot of members
Pay ballot box

RCN Scotland will hold an indicative ballot of members on their willingness to take industrial action

Nursing staff in Scotland are to be balloted on their willingness to take industrial action over their 4% pay offer.

RCN Scotland will hold an indicative ballot of its NHS members who earlier this year overwhelmingly rejected the Scottish Government’s pay offer.

Industrial action considered a last resort

The poll will not formally authorise industrial action but be used to inform the RCN’s next steps in its dispute with the government.

RCN Scotland board chair Julie Lambeth said nursing staff were ‘reaching the end of their tether’ and felt they could no longer deliver the care patients needed with staff shortages.

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RCN Scotland will hold an indicative ballot of members on their willingness to take industrial action

Pay ballot box
Picture: iStock

Nursing staff in Scotland are to be balloted on their willingness to take industrial action over their 4% pay offer.

RCN Scotland will hold an indicative ballot of its NHS members who earlier this year overwhelmingly rejected the Scottish Government’s pay offer.

Industrial action considered a last resort

The poll will not formally authorise industrial action but be used to inform the RCN’s next steps in its dispute with the government.

RCN Scotland board chair Julie Lambeth said nursing staff were ‘reaching the end of their tether’ and felt they could no longer deliver the care patients needed with staff shortages.

‘Our profession deserves fair pay that recognises our skills, expertise and level of responsibility, supports retention and recruitment to ensure patient safety, and compensates for the failure of salaries to keep up with the cost of living over the last ten years,’ she said.

She added: ‘It’s a last resort and extremely difficult decision for nursing staff even to consider industrial action. But the current staffing challenges are causing unacceptable risks to patients and staff. The Scottish Government has the opportunity to do the right thing by nursing.’

No meaningful talks on pay offer since June

RCN Scotland launched a formal trade dispute with the Scottish Government in June following the results of its ballot on the pay offer. The union says there have been no meaningful talks since then.

Responding to news of the indicative ballot, health and social care secretary Humza Yousaf said he was disappointed to hear of the action and was meeting RCN representatives on Friday 1 October.

‘NHS Scotland nurses are the best paid in the UK, and the pay deal, which has been agreed by the majority of unions and NHS staff, is the biggest pay rise in 20 years and the best in the entire UK,’ he said.

The RCN and the GMB voted to reject the pay offer in ballots but Unison members accepted it.

The pay rise for Agenda for Changes band 1 to 7 was introduced in the summer and backdated to December 2020.

Pay situation in England, Wales and Northern Ireland

In England and Wales a 3% pay offer was rejected by RCN members and the college is considering next steps.

Nurses in Northern Ireland are to receive the 3% pay rise in November which will be backdated to April. However while this has been communicated to unions it’s not set to be formally announced until after the budget review in October.


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