HEALTH MATTERS: Nurses balloted over possible industrial action in pay dispute

Royal College of Nursing members rejected the government’s pay rise offer

Industrial action: The Royal College of Nursing is balloting members.

The Royal College of Nursing is balloting members industrial action.

By Lucy Ashton

Nurses have been asked to vote on whether to take industrial action over a pay dispute with the Scottish Government.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) is balloting members after rejecting the pay rise offered by the Government and warned that nurses had been “undervalued and under-resourced” for a decade.

Scotland’s health secretary Humza Yousaf previously described the offer of an average 4% increase was “the biggest pay rise in 20 years and the best in the entire UK”.

The indicative ballot will be open until midday on Monday November 8 and seeks to establish what industrial action RCN members would be willing to take.

Chairwoman of the RCN Scotland board, Julie Lamberth, said: “After 18 months of bearing the brunt of the response to the Covid-19 pandemic and a decade of being undervalued and under-resourced, more and more nursing staff are 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.

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

“The Scottish Government did improve the offer to senior staff on higher pay bands after pressure from the RCN but while that was welcome it’s not enough.

“It’s a last resort and extremely difficult decision for nursing staff even to consider industrial action. It’s now up to RCN members to decide what the next steps will be.”

RCN trade union committee chairman Graham Revie added: “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.

“I urge as many members as possible to speak up and tell us whether they believe industrial action is needed to turn things around for our patients.”

One comment

  1. It’s the Winter of Discontent for those of us who remember the first one.

    Train drivers, bin men and now nurses all in the process of considering industrial action. And driver too who kept the wheels turning delivering essential supplies.

    But the nurses, right at the front of the front line delivering medical services during the pandemic, putting their lives on the line, our government’s gratitude to them has been appalling. And now one of the most caring of professions is considering industrial action.

    Well done Nicola Sturgeon as your Government squander money on rewriting health service policies whereby all references to “ mother “ is to be removed preferring instead ‘ pregnant female ‘

    Or money squandered on health boards requiring staff to wear LBGTI++ rainbow badges, It’s a horrendous amount of effort, and it’s not just the health service but education and many many other areas too.

    Sturgeon’s government is failing on health, failing on education, people are dying waiting for ambulances, folks cannot get doctors appointments, school performance is appalling, and now we all pay the price.

    It’s a deviant Government, with quite frankly a deviant focus. Allthe warm words, all the spin that money can buy. Never thought I’d be so disillusioned with a Scottish Government that had previously delivered so much in terms of things like free prescriptions, no tuition fees, the removal of hospital parking charges, a initiative of major infrastructure building of roads, bridges and schools to keep people working after the financial crash, removal of bridge tolls and other really good stuff.

    And now, a focus on Hate Crime and Trans and little else as we suffer also wrench out of the EU that the majority of Scotland voted against.

    Disillusioned you bet – and I sympathise with our nurses.

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