NHS nurses’ strikes end as ballot turnout fails to meet threshold
Large majority of nurses in RCN ballot voted to push ahead with further walkouts, but number of votes cast was not enough to satisfy strike laws
Nurses’ strikes by the RCN in England have come to an end after turnout in the latest ballot failed to hit the legal threshold.
50% turnout needed
– equating to 140,000 votes cast – was the minimum turnout of eligible union members required for a majority strike vote to be legal
The college revealed on 27 June it had failed to secure a fresh mandate for a further six months of walkouts because, while a large majority of those voting wanted to press on with further strikes, the turnout was below the legal minimum needed.
There had been concern about the use of postal votes – another legal requirement – with some nurses claiming their ballots did not arrive or were received too late to meet the deadline.
RCN general secretary Pat Cullen said the result was disappointing but the college would continue its fight for better pay and safe staffing.
were received by the RCN, making the turnout 43.4%
‘We have started something special – the voice of nursing has never been stronger and we’re going to keep using it,’ she said.
Ms Cullen was due to meet prime minister Rishi Sunak on 27 June and promised to quiz him on plans for nursing and the NHS workforce. ‘I know staff morale is low and the staffing crisis is set to worsen without immediate action. I will be telling him this today.’
‘While the RCN didn’t get enough “yes” votes to carry out another round of strike action, we must not ignore nurses’ strength of feeling and the factors that compelled them to walk out in the first place’
Julian Hartley, chief executive, NHS Providers
Government and RCN must resolve ongoing NHS workforce issues
84% voted to strike
This equates to 100,000 nurses
Figures supplied by RCN
While NHS leaders welcomed an end to the strike campaign, they said the ‘strength of feeling’ in the profession should not be ignored.
Chief executive of NHS Providers Julian Hartley said: ‘While the RCN didn’t get enough “yes” votes from nurses to carry out another round of strike action, we must not ignore the strength of feeling within the profession and the factors that compelled them to walk out in the first place.
‘It is vital the government and RCN now take this opportunity to “reset” their relationship and to resolve wider, ongoing issues affecting the NHS workforce.’
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: ‘We welcome the end to hugely disruptive industrial action so staff can continue caring for patients and cutting waiting lists.’
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