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GMB union asks nurses if they will strike over ‘punishment’ pay offer

The ballot seeks views of almost 10,000 nurse members, and follows the RCN’s announcement that it is also testing the appetite for strike action

The ballot seeks views of almost 10,000 nurse members, and follows the RCN’s announcement that it is also testing the appetite for strike action

Thousands more nurses and other healthcare workers will be asked if they are willing to go on strike as GMB becomes the latest union to ballot NHS workers over what it calls a ‘punishment’ pay offer .

The trade union, which has almost 10,000 nurse members, has announced it will ballot members on potential industrial action, labelling the government’s £1,400 pay offer as ‘meagre’ in the face of record inflation levels.

The ballot seeks views of almost 10,000 nurse members, and follows the RCN’s announcement that it is also testing the appetite for strike action

GMB members on protest
Picture: John Behets

Thousands more nurses and other healthcare workers will be asked if they are willing to go on strike as GMB becomes the latest union to ballot NHS workers over what it calls a ‘punishment’ pay offer.

The trade union, which has almost 10,000 nurse members, has announced it will ballot members on potential industrial action, labelling the government’s £1,400 pay offer as ‘meagre’ in the face of record inflation levels.

GMB national director Rachel Harrison said: ‘Health workers are using food banks and cancelling their pension contributions to make ends meet. It’s not right and we shouldn’t expect them to take it lying down.’

The ballot opened on 30 August and will run until 27 September.

GMB union echoes RCN call for strike action

The move comes after the RCN announced it will also ballot all UK members on the latest NHS pay award, which the college claims will leave an experienced nurse more than £1,000 worse off a year in real terms.

If its members support strike action, it will be the first ever strike by RCN members in England, Wales and Scotland. RCN members in Northern Ireland went on strike for the first time in the union’s history in 2019.

The RCN postal ballot, which opens on 15 September, will ask members if they are willing to withdraw their labour as part of industrial action. It will run until 13 October.

Nurses told ‘we need to act now’

Shaun Williams

Nurses have told Nursing Standard of their appetite for strike action, suggesting it is ‘the only option’ left after the government ‘hasn’t listened to our cries for help’.

Nurse and RCN council member Shaun Williams said: ‘I don’t want to work in a toxic and unsafe system – we need to act now as a profession for nurses and our patients.’

RCN leaders are urging members to back the motion for strike action as nurses face a cost of living crisis and increasing cuts to wages in real terms.


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