Nurses are prepared to begin their vote on whether to pay higher in the first UK-wide vote of the industry’s largest union.
For the first time in its 106-year history, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) will ask its 300,000 members if they want to launch an industry action campaign.
It comes amid warnings that a record number of nurses is quit job.
RCN says new analysis by London Economics has found that salaries for nurses have fallen at twice the rate of the private sector over the past decade, with their real earnings falling 6%.
The union wants nurses to get a raise in line with the inflation rate, currently 10.1%.
In July, the government awarded most NHS staff get a raise at least 4.5%, which it said has given many workers a £1,400 raise.
The RCN has called on its members to vote in favor of industrial action, with the union’s general secretary saying it is a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to improve wages and combat staff shortages. .
“Governments have repeatedly ignored the NHS and the value of nursing. We can change this if we come together to say ‘enough is enough,'” RCN chief executive Pat Cullen said in a statement. message to members.
“The record numbers leave them with no choice but to quit, and the patients pay a heavy price. We’re doing this for them too.
“Clearly we need change urgently. Nursing is the best job in the world. Defend it with your vote.”
Public urged to co-sign letter to Prime Minister
Members of the public are also invited to join the union’s demands by co-signing a letter to Prime Minister Liz Truss.
The letter asks the government to “recognize consciousness” and “protect nurses to protect the public”.
The poll conducted by YouGov found that two-thirds of the public would support nurses taking strike action, while three-quarters of respondents said there were too few nurses to provide care. The NHS is safe.
The vote comes amid months of strike action from many sectors, including railway workers, postal workers and denialists.