We are aware some users might find it difficult to log into our site today. We are working on this issue and hope to have it resolved shortly.
News

A strike is our only option say nurses as ballot called on pay offer

Early support for next month’s ballot that could see nurses in England and Wales voting for their first ever strike
A picket line at Belfast's Royal Victoria Hospital in 2020, when nurses in Northern Ireland staged strikes over pay

Early support for next month’s ballot that could see nurses in England and Wales voting for their first ever strike

Demoralised and exhausted nurses say striking is ‘the only option’ left because the government ‘hasn’t listened to our cries for help’, as unions confirm a ballot on industrial action.

The RCN announced it will be balloting hundreds of thousands of its members working in the NHS in England and Wales over pay following the government’s pay offer of £1,400 last month – an offer dismissed by the college as ‘a national disgrace’.

Early support for next month’s ballot that could see nurses in England and Wales voting for their first ever strike

A picket line at Belfast's Royal Victoria Hospital in 2020, when nurses in Northern Ireland staged strikes over pay
A picket line at Belfast's Royal Victoria Hospital in 2020, when nurses in Northern Ireland staged strikes over pay Picture: Alamy

Demoralised and exhausted nurses say striking is ‘the only option’ left because the government ‘hasn’t listened to our cries for help’, as unions confirm a ballot on industrial action.

The RCN announced it will be balloting hundreds of thousands of its members working in the NHS in England and Wales over pay following the government’s pay offer of £1,400 last month – an offer dismissed by the college as ‘a national disgrace’.

Nurses have told Nursing Standard of their willingness to support strike action, saying it is clear the government does not care about nurses or patients.

Nurse and RCN council member Shaun Williams said: ‘I don’t want to work in a toxic and unsafe system – we need to act now as profession for nurses and our patients.’

Nurse Euan Booth echoed this sentiment, writing on Twitter: ‘I’m fed up with being treated like s**t by a government that doesn’t give a damn about anyone other than themselves. Time for some real action. Something real.’

An emergency nurse based in London told Nursing Standard that striking was the only option left for nurses to get the government to listen. Asked if she would back a strike she said: ‘The government hasn’t listened to our cries for help, they haven’t wanted to give a fair pay rise, so this is the only option.

Postal ballot opens on 15 September, with RCN leaders urging members to back industrial action

‘We know understaffing leads to poor patient outcomes, longer waiting times and higher mortality rates. The public need to care about this as it directly affects their healthcare.’

Many nurses were quick to point out this was not just a pay issue but a patient safety issue, and that the decision to back strike action is not one made without careful consideration. One nurse told Nursing Standard: ‘This is not a decision I take lightly but we have reached a point where enough is enough.

‘It is not simply that pay is an insult, leaving us struggling to afford the basics, or that our conditions are barely tolerable, this is about patient safety and the future of our National Health Service.

‘If you can’t keep and attract a workforce of skilled, committed and valued professionals then the service is unsustainable and patients are at risk. And it’s worth remembering we are all patients.’

The RCN postal ballot, which opens on 15 September, will ask members if they are willing to withdraw their labour as part of industrial action.

RCN leaders are urging members to back the motion as nurses face a spiralling cost of living and cuts in wages in real terms, with many nurses backing the call to strike on social media.

The Unite union is also balloting around 100,000 NHS workers in England and Wales on whether they wish to accept the pay offer or if they want to challenge it through industrial action.


In other news

Sign up to continue reading for FREE

OR

Unlock full access to RCNi Plus today

Save over 50% on your first three months:

  • Customisable clinical dashboard featuring 200+ topics
  • Unlimited online access to all 10 RCNi Journals including Nursing Standard
  • RCNi Learning featuring 180+ RCN accredited learning modules
  • NMC-compliant RCNi Portfolio to build evidence for revalidation
  • Personalised newsletters tailored to your interests

This article is not available as part of an institutional subscription. Why is this?

Jobs