The Royal College of Nursing has announced new dates for its strike ballot following its decision to delay after the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
Members across the UK will now be balloted over the government’s latest pay awards between Thursday 6 October and Wednesday 2 November, the college has confirmed.
The ballot, which had been due to open this week, is open to NHS staff on Agenda for Change contracts in England, Scotland and Wales, and those who work for Health and Social Care in Northern Ireland.
The 2022-23 pay deals have fallen below the inflation-busting pay increases for which unions, including the RCN, have been campaigning.
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In England and Wales, a pay increase of at least £1,400 was awarded, in line with the NHS Pay Review Body’s recommendations.
Meanwhile, in Northern Ireland, the lack of a fully functioning government means nurses are still waiting for an official pay outcome. Northern Ireland’s health minister had announced his intention to accept the recommended £1,400 uplift but was unable to implement it immediately because of budget issues.
And in Scotland, which has broken away from the pay review body process, a 5% increase was put forward for nurses.
RCN members will receive their ballot papers by post on Thursday 6 October by Civica Election Services. Completed ballot papers should be posted to arrive with Civica by 12noon on Wednesday 2 November, the college said.
The Queen, who was a royal patron at the RCN for more than 65 years, died peacefully aged 96 at Balmoral last Thursday.
Following the news, the RCN announced that “out of respect” it had decided to delay its ballots.
The college has also put a pause on its pay campaigning activities until after the funeral of Her Majesty.