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NHS pay award: ballot opens for nurses in Scotland on possible industrial action

RCN members will be asked what action they would take over Scottish Government’s 4% pay offer

RCN members will be asked what kind of action they would be prepared to take over Scottish Government’s 4% pay offer

Nursing staff in Scotland are being asked to vote on their willingness to take industrial action as the fight for fair pay ramps up.

Nurses in Scotland urged to vote in RCN ballot over strike action

An indicative ballot opened today (12 October) amid warnings from the RCN that nurses have been ‘undervalued and under-resourced’ for a decade.

The poll by RCN Scotland seeks to establish what kind of industrial action members are willing to take over their 4% pay offer from the Scottish Government.

A similar ballot is set to open in the

RCN members will be asked what kind of action they would be prepared to take over Scottish Government’s 4% pay offer

Photo of a voting slip being placed into a ballot box with a Scottish flag in the background
Picture: iStock

Nursing staff in Scotland are being asked to vote on their willingness to take industrial action as the fight for fair pay ramps up.

Nurses in Scotland urged to vote in RCN ballot over strike action

An indicative ballot opened today (12 October) amid warnings from the RCN that nurses have been ‘undervalued and under-resourced’ for a decade.

The poll by RCN Scotland seeks to establish what kind of industrial action members are willing to take over their 4% pay offer from the Scottish Government.

A similar ballot is set to open in the coming weeks in England asking nursing staff if they are willing to take action short of a strike, such as working their contracted hours only, or a complete withdrawal of labour.

RCN Scotland board chair Julie Lamberth said after 18 months in a pandemic and a decade of being undervalued and under-resourced more staff were saying ‘enough is enough’.

‘The Scottish Government and NHS employers need to stop paying lip service to the immense contribution nursing staff make to health and care services,’ she said.

‘They need to take very seriously our concerns about what’s happening now and what will happen in the future without effective action.’

Power is in the hands of nursing staff

RCN trade union committee chair Graham Revie said: ‘Our members were very clear in telling the Scottish Government that the NHS pay award was completely unacceptable – it fails the test of fairness and it fails to address the current crisis by not taking action to safely staff our wards and clinics.

‘With the vote open across Scotland, the power is once again in the hands of nursing staff.’

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: '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.

'We recognise the tremendous service our nurses have given during the pandemic, which is one of the reasons we provided a £500 bonus to them at the turn of the year that was in addition to their increased pay.

'The pay increase in Scotland was 4% backdated to December 2020, while in England and Wales the increase was 3% and was not backdated to December.

'Health secretary Humza Yousaf met with representatives from the RCN earlier this month and we continue to engage in constructive discussions.'

The indicative ballot in Scotland is open until midday on Monday 8 November.

Members in Wales will be announcing the next steps in their pay campaign shortly. A formal pay announcement is still awaited in Northern Ireland.


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