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Public support rising for pay strike by nurses

Public support for nurses to strike over pay has risen to nearly 50%, says the RCN, which is demanding an end to the delay in announcing a pay award
Nurses outside Ulster Hospital during Northern Ireland's 2019-20 pay strikes

Public support for nurses to strike over pay has risen to nearly 50%, says the RCN, which is demanding an end to the delay in announcing a pay award

Public support for nurses to strike over pay is rising, a survey shows, as new health secretary Steve Barclay is urged to end a delay in announcing the size of a pay rise for the profession.

The RCN said nurses must be given an immediate, ‘substantial’ pay rise, with a decision by the UK government already delayed by three months.

The college said its survey , which obtained nearly 1,500 responses, showed that

Public support for nurses to strike over pay has risen to nearly 50%, says the RCN, which is demanding an end to the delay in announcing a pay award

Nurses outside Ulster Hospital during Northern Ireland's 2019-20 pay strikes
Nurses outside Ulster Hospital during Northern Ireland's 2019-20 pay strikes
Picture: Alamy

Public support for nurses to strike over pay is rising, a survey shows, as new health secretary Steve Barclay is urged to end a delay in announcing the size of a pay rise for the profession.

The RCN said nurses must be given an immediate, ‘substantial’ pay rise, with a decision by the UK government already delayed by three months.

The college said its survey, which obtained nearly 1,500 responses, showed that public support in England for nursing staff to take industrial action has risen sharply.

In a similar survey in May 42% of respondents said they were ‘very likely’ or ‘quite likely’ to support nurses taking industrial action over their pay. In the latest survey the figure has risen to 49%.

RCN general secretary Pat Cullen said: ‘The pressure on nursing is unrelenting and now soaring inflation means staff are struggling to pay the bills and going to food banks. They are leaving the profession in their droves – the incredible financial hardship they face is proving the final straw.

‘No nurse ever wants to take industrial action but nothing is off the table for our members. Nursing staff may feel they have no other choice to protect patient safety.’

RCN has set out the case for a pay rise of 5% above the level of inflation

In its formal evidence to the Pay Review Body (PRB), the RCN set out the case for a pay rise of 5% above the level of RPI inflation, which is currently over 11%.

In 2020, nurses in Northern Ireland took the historical decision to strike for the first time in the RCN’s history over concerns about short staffing and pay.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has previously confirmed that nurses will be getting a pay rise, but with inflation soaring it is seen likely that staff will face a cut in real terms.

Unison’s head of health Sara Gorton said: ‘The government’s leadership vacuum is no excuse for further delay on putting NHS pay right. The government is already months behind its own timetable.

‘It’s high time the government released the PRB reports to let nurses, healthcare assistants, porters, paramedics, cleaners and all the other vital NHS employees know if the inflation-busting pay rise they deserve will be delivered.’

The DHSC could not confirm when the pay award would be announced.


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