Nursing staff will be asked to consider industrial action after a decade of real-terms pay cuts.
A nationwide ballot of Royal College of Nursing (RCN) members is now set to take place next month.
Nursing staff in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland will be asked to consider industrial action over a significantly below inflation pay rise imposed on the already over-stretched workers last month.
The ballot of several hundred thousand RCN members will run across the UK from 15 September until 13 October 2022.
Union officials are encouraging members to vote in support of industrial action following over a decade of real-terms pay cuts.
An analysis suggests the average frontline nurse is now up to £10,000 a year worse off than in 2008 in real-terms.
If nursing staff support strike action, it will be the first-ever strike by RCN members in England, Wales and Scotland, following the historic 2019 strike in Northern Ireland.
Would you vote for strike action?
Yes 95%, 10383 votes
10383 votes - 95% of all votes
No 5%, 516 votes
516 votes - 5% of all votes
Total Votes: 10899
19 July 2022
You or your IP had already vote.
For fair pay and patient safety.
Pat Cullen, RCN General Secretary & Chief Executive, said: “There’s never been a more urgent time to fight for fair pay and patient safety. From severe staff shortages to a decade of underpayment, we can’t continue like this.
“Nursing staff will stop at nothing to protect their patients. Staff shortages are putting patient safety at risk and the failure of governments across the UK to listen has left us with no choice but to advocate for strike action.”
For action to be taken, at least 50% of eligible RCN members must vote in the ballot, with the majority voting in favour, for strike action to be legal.
In England and Scotland, further thresholds would need to be met on top of this one for strike action to be legal.
The RCN is campaigning for a fully-funded pay rise for nursing staff of 5% above inflation, which is on track to hit 13% later this year.