By Lucy Ashton
Jackie Baillie, right, has told how the “eye-watering” number of nursing staff across NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde backing strike action must act as a wake-up call to the Scottish Government.
On Wednesday, members of RCN Scotland voted in favour of strike action saying the most recent Scottish Government pay offer was equivalent to a pay cut. This is the first time in 106 years that there has been a positive ballot for strike action.
All NHS staff, including nurses, were originally offered five percent with the lowest paid offered a flat rate. However the latest offer was worth about four percent to registered nurses, meaning that the difference between a registered and unregistered nurse will be just 6p an hour.
Some 71 percent of members in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde took part in the ballot with a staggering 96.5 percent voting in favour of industrial action.
Only NHS Lanarkshire, a health board area which has been dogged by both bed and staff shortages for large parts of the last year had a higher percentage of members (97.3) agreeing they should strike.
Jackie Baillie, Dumbarton constituency MSP, said: “The decision taken by the RCN is a historic one – this is the first time ever that there has been a vote for industrial action – and it is the result of incompetence on a historic scale from the SNP.
“Skilled nurses are leaving in droves as they are fed up of being undervalued by the Scottish Government. This must be a wake-up call to the SNP to get back round the negotiating table now to stop this catastrophe and show our nursing staff that we respect and value them.
“For 15 years, the SNP government has failed to tackle the staffing crisis and now patient safety is being compromised and lives are being lost as a result.
“More than 95 percent of nurses who voted across NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde back strike action. That is an eye-watering number and a damning indictment of the government.
“The nursing staff here are doing their best but Humza Yousaf has been deaf to their concerns.”