The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) today announced it would ballot its members over industrial action in protest at the government’s decision to postpone part of this year’s pay award.
This is the first time the college has held a ballot for nationwide industrial action since it was founded in 1916. Although the college’s 300,000 members are only allowed to take industrial action that is not detrimental to patient care, a yes vote could still have major consequences for the NHS.
The RCN estimates that around 173,000 NHS nurses work an average of more than six hours unpaid overtime – equivalent to more than 1m hours of unpaid overtime – every week.
The college said the cost of covering this work with agency nurses would be a minimum of £13m per week.
Nurses to vote on strike action