Tensions rise as RCN members demand an ‘independent review’ of the union

The unions has been accused of “electioneering” by deciding who members “can and cannot vote for” in the presidential elections. 

Matt Bodell
25 August 2020
RCN Voice of Nursing

There is widespread criticism that the union mishandled concerns during the presidential election campaigns.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) may be forced to hold it’s second Emergency General Meeting (EGM) in two years as tensions rise between the organisations and it’s members.


A petition calling for the meeting in order to demand wide-spread change in the union is currently circulating on social media. An EGM was last held by in 2018 after accusations the union “misrepresented” the current pay deal to its members.

The news comes amid widespread criticism that the union mishandled concerns raised during the presidential election campaigns.

Members raised concerns after a decision was made by senior union officials to eliminate two presidential candidates for using allegedly College’s social media groups to reach out to members.

The petition accuses the union of “electioneering” by deciding who members “can and cannot vote for” in the presidential elections.


It asks members to support an Emergency General Meeting (EGM) “to force the change required, to protect the integrity of our trade union, to protect the profession of nursing, and to make sure the RCN will properly represent us as we fight for better pay”.

Several demands on the College are being made by the petitioners.

The first states that “members have no confidence in the current leadership of the Royal College of Nursing and feel that our confidence can only be restored by having a full independent review of the management and governance functions within the Royal College of Nursing.”

Next, it calls for the suggested independent review to be overseen by “a representative group from Forums, Branches, Past Presidents and the Petitioners” with the findings of the review being made public at the next Annual General Meeting (AGM) – which would take place during RCN Congress 2021.


Finally, the petition calls for the presidential and deputy presidential elections to be “immediately halted pending the review”.

According to the unions’ policy, only 1000 signatures are required to support the call for the emergency meeting.

A spokesperson for the Royal College of Nursing said: “The RCN represents over 450,000 nursing staff and we continue to work on the issues that matter to them – fair pay, safe staffing, and safe conditions while working in a pandemic.

“We are aware that some members are sharing petitions in relation to an extraordinary general meeting.

“We listen to all of our members and due process will be followed in terms of a response.”


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