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Nurses reject pay offer and prepare for full 48-hour strike action

The results of the RCN’s consultation on the revised NHS pay offer for nursing staff in England have been announced.

  • 61% of eligible members voted
  • 46% voted to accept the offer
  • 54% voted to reject the offer

A government spokesperson said:

“It is hugely disappointing that the Royal College of Nursing membership has rejected the pay deal recommended by their leadership. Following constructive discussions, all parties agreed this was a fair and generous offer which is demonstrated by Unison, representing the largest share of the NHS workforce, choosing to accept it.

“The fact that the Royal College of Nursing has announced an escalation in strike action with no derogations, based on a vote from the minority of the nursing workforce, will be hugely concerning for patients.

“Hundreds of thousands of Agenda for Change staff continue to vote in ballots for other unions over the next two weeks and we hope this generous offer secures their support.”

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The Royal College of Nursing said:

‘We’ve written to the Health Secretary to seek an urgent re-opening of pay talks with the UK government and are organising a 48-hour strike with no derogations (exemptions from strike action) from 8pm on 30 April to 8pm on 2 May. This is within our current mandate to strike, which covers the 2022-23 pay year only.

‘We’ll also conduct an England-wide statutory ballot to extend the scope and duration of our current mandate for strike action.

In the letter to Steve Barclay, RCN General Secretary & Chief Executive Pat Cullen said:

“What has been offered to date is simply not enough. The government needs to increase what has already been offered and we will be highly critical of any move to reduce it.

“Until there is a significantly improved offer, we are forced back to the picket line. Meetings alone are not sufficient to prevent strike action and I will require an improved offer as soon as possible. In February, you opened negotiations directly with me and I urge you to do the same now.

“After a historic vote to strike, our members expect a historic pay award.”

Addressing members directly, Pat Cullen reflected on the campaign to date and urged for mass participation among those members who are being called to strike in May, in our biggest and most intensive action yet: “I want to congratulate you on your resolve throughout this consultation. The level of participation in this ballot is record-breaking – this is exactly how we’ll continue to shape this profession for the better and make the voice of nursing impossible to ignore.

“I have heard you and I’m prouder than ever to be led by you in the campaign for fair pay.

“I now urge every member employed where strike action has been called, to prepare to strike from 8 pm on 30 April to 8 pm on 2 May 2023.”

‘The RCN’s consultation on the NHS pay offer for staff on Agenda for Change contracts in England opened on 28 March and closed at 9am today (14 April). It followed six days of strike action in England and four weeks of intensive pay talks with the UK government.

‘Other health trade unions have also been consulting their members on the offer. We’re awaiting clarity from the UK government on what they’ll do next, in light of our consultation outcome. We don’t expect to find out until all unions have concluded their consultations but, in the meantime, we’ve been clear that we expect an improved and formal pay offer to postpone our strike.’

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