A Royal College of Nursing ballot over how the union responds to the Scottish Government’s single-year pay offer has now closed, with its “next steps” due to be set out later this month.
“A pay rise that goes significantly above inflation is crucial to the recruitment and retention of skilled nursing staff”
RCN Scotland opened its ballot of NHS members on Agenda for Change contracts on 12 July, recommending they reject the 5% pay award offered by the government for 2022-23.
It asked relevant members whether they would personally be willing to take industrial action, up to and including strike action, in response to the pay offer.
In the coming days, the ballot result will be considered by the RCN Scotland Board, RCN Trade Union Committee and RCN Council, which are made up of elected representatives of the RCN membership.
They will collectively confirm the RCN’s formal response to the pay offer, said the college in a statement released late on Thursday.
This response will be reported back to the Scottish Terms and Conditions Committee (STAC) on Friday 12 August, before a formal response is made to the Scottish Government.
Julie Lamberth, chair of the RCN Scotland Board said: “I believe enough is enough and we must go back to Scottish government to say the current offer is well below what we expect and deserve.
“But we’ll consider very carefully what members have told us through their votes and what the next steps should be,” said Ms Lamberth.
“The funding of our NHS and care services is a political decision, as is paying a fair wage for safety critical work. Too often we are unable to provide the level of care we want to because of staffing shortages.
“The consequences are felt by patients in hospitals, residents in care homes, their families and the staff who have to live with knowing that while they did their best, it often wasn’t as good as they wanted it to be,” she said.
She added: “A pay rise that goes significantly above inflation is crucial to the recruitment and retention of skilled nursing staff now and in the future.”
Fellow union Unison is also balloting its members in Scotland and is recommending to its 35,000 members working in NHS Scotland that they reject the offer and vote in favour of industrial action.
Unison’s ballot is set to close on Monday. In addition, Unite and the GMB have balloted members and advising them to turn down the Scottish NHS pay offer.
Meanwhile, official industrial action ballots are being prepared in England and Wales, following their latest 2022-23 pay deals, which will see most NHS nurses awarded an increase between 4 and 5%.