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PAY AND CONDITIONS

RCN members to consider industrial action over pay

ADOBE

Many nurses were disappointed by the Government’s 3% pay offer

Members of the RCN are to be asked whether they would be willing to take industrial action in an indicative ballot launching soon, the union has announced.

Elected members on the RCN Trade Union Committee have made this decision to help determine the union’s next steps in the ongoing dispute over fair pay.

The move comes after 92%

of members working for the NHS in England who voted in the RCN’s recent consultative ballot said the 3% pay award for 2021-22 is unacceptable.

These results have carefully considered by the RCN’s elected Trade Union Committee, factoring in the views of members on the RCN’s English regional boards, and they have decided the most appropriate course of action is to test members’

appetite for industrial action.

‘Today’s decision was taken by members, for members. Nursing staff from across the country are leading this campaign from the front and the RCN Trade Union Committee has listened to the views of members who voted,’ said Chair of the RCN Trade Union Committee Graham Revie.

‘Our members were very clear in telling the Prime Minster that his NHS pay deal 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.’

Members will be asked if they are willing to take action short of a strike – such as working contracted hours only – or strike action, which is the complete withdrawal of labour. The RCN has said that industrial action is always a last resort, but that they are also clear that the current staffing crisis in the NHS is causing unacceptable risk to patients and staff.

‘Politicians might be hoping our members would go quiet about NHS pay but with this announcement they are turning up the volume yet further,’ said Chair of RCN Council Carol Popplestone.

‘We are a patient safety critical profession but currently forced to operate with tens of thousands of missing nurses – patient care is suffering. Only by paying nursing staff fairly will you stop experienced staff from leaving and encourage the next generation to join a fantastic career.’

The vote will open in the coming weeks with the launch date and more details available soon. The result of the indicative ballot will not formally authorise industrial action but will be used to inform what members do next.

WELLBEING

RCN initiative to keep nurses healthy this winter

The RCN is encouraging members to prioritise their own physical and mental health this winter.

The #winterwellbeing campaign aims to support members in keeping healthy during the winter months as new RCN analysis shows NHS staff in England are now more at risk of mental health problems, chest and respiratory problems and migraines than before the pandemic.

It comes as nursing staff face a difficult few months,

treating the backlog of care, administering an expanded annual influenza programme alongside an ongoing COVID19 vaccination programme and seasonal pressures made worse by a predicted surge in flu and other infections.

‘COVID-19, flu and norovirus spread easily to vulnerable groups and staff. It’s important to take time for yourself and look after your own health this winter,’ said Helen Donovan, RCN Professional Lead for Public Health.

‘One of the key ways to do that is by having the vaccines you’re eligible for – both for flu and COVID-19. With the double threat they pose this year, this message is more important than ever.’

Winter often sees an increase in a range of infectious diseases; colds and flu alongside other respiratory infections and gastrointestinal infections including noroviruses. As part of the campaign, the RCN have released a range of resources includes advice about the

COVID-19 and flu vaccines as well as mindfulness and healthy eating guides.

‘Organisations must make the vaccines readily available, with easy access to them during the working day. We know that if organisations do this, uptake goes up exponentially,’ added Ms Donovan.

‘As well as following the campaign’s advice, we’re asking members to please support it, both at work or university, and using social media.’

Healthcare Ltd

2021 MA

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4 | Independent Nurse |  October 2021

www.independentnurse.co.uk

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