The Royal College of Nursing has, for the first time in its history, approved a ballot on strike action.
In a historic move, the RCN has unanimously agreed its Jersey Branch can ballot members working at The States Health and Community Services Department on taking strike action over pay if mediation by Jersey Advisory and Conciliation Service (JACS) with the States Employment Board doesn’t urgently result in an improved pay offer.
This is the first time in its history the RCN has authorised a strike ballot and if members walk out, it will be the first time RCN members have gone on strike anywhere. RCN members have taken this decision after years of unfair treatment and a below-inflation pay offer.
The RCN will be working with the Jersey Nurses Association whose members also rejected a “final” pay offer from the States.
Care will not be compromised.
Lindsay Meeks, Regional Director of RCN South East, said: “This historic decision has come after years of poor pay and a desultory offer from the States’ Government. It reflects the strength of feeling among our members, after years of unequal pay which is driving people away from the island, and ultimately risks safe patient care as nurse numbers dwindle.
“But first and foremost, nurses’ responsibility is to their patients and should the strike go ahead, members will take every precaution to ensure treatment and care remains safe.
“Our members want this situation resolved, and the RCN will continue to negotiate through the mediation service. We hope it doesn’t come to a walk-out, but the States should be in no doubt our members will not be ignored again.”