Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Nurses to start voting next month on whether to strike over pay

FWGDMG Morning in Accident and Emergency Department in UK hospital, with blur of nursing staff as they go about their daily tasks
FWGDMG Morning in Accident and Emergency Department in UK hospital, with blur of nursing staff as they go about their daily tasks

Nurses will start voting next month on whether to strike over pay in what is being described as a “defining moment” for the profession.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) said it will be recommending hundreds of thousands of its members support industrial action in a ballot that opens in mid-September.

The postal ballot will ask RCN members working for the NHS in England and Wales on Agenda for Change contracts if they will take strike action which involves a complete withdrawal of labour.

It will open on Thursday September 15 for four weeks.

If its members support strike action, it will be the first ever strike by RCN members in England or Wales.

The college went on strike for the first time in its history in Northern Ireland in 2019.

The RCN also announced it has increased its industrial action strike fund to £50 million, up from £35 million, to provide financial support towards lost earnings during strikes.

The college has called for a pay rise for nursing staff of 5% above RPI inflation, which is currently 11.8%.

Last month the Government announced a pay award the RCN said leaves an experienced nurse more than £1,000 worse off in real terms, describing it as “a national disgrace”.

RCN officials said industrial strike action was a last resort, but the current NHS staffing crisis was causing “unacceptable risk” to patients and staff.

A formal pay announcement is still awaited in Northern Ireland, while in Scotland the college has urged its members to reject a 5% pay offer from the Scottish government.

Pat Cullen, RCN general secretary, said: “Nursing staff will stop at nothing to protect their patients.

“Staff shortages are putting patient safety at risk and the Government’s failure to listen has left us with no choice but to advocate for strike action.

“A lifetime of service must never mean a lifetime of poverty. Ministers’ refusal to recognise the skill and responsibility of the job is pushing people out of the profession.

“The next prime minister must change course urgently.”

Carol Popplestone, who chairs the RCN Council, said in a message to members: “After years of underpayment and staff shortages, the fight for fair pay must strengthen.

“This year’s pay award does not help you with the rising cost of living. It will do nothing to help to recruit or retain more nursing staff where you work and will not keep patients safe.”