Only one in four RCN members turned out to vote in the ballot on industrial action.
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has said that it will continue fighting next year after its recent ballots on potential industrial action failed to achieve the required turnout.
In England, only 23% of eligible members voted in the ballot, with a slightly higher figure of 29% seen in Wales and Scotland.
The law requires that a union have a turnout of at least 50% in order for a ballot on industrial action to meet the legal threshold.
However, around half of all those that voted said they would be prepared to take strike action.
Many more would need to vote.
The RCN has said that member engagement would need to be better if they were to take action.
Chair of the RCN Trade Union Committee Graham Revie said: “With hard work and determination, we mobilised 23% of eligible members to vote, with those making it clear they would consider taking industrial action.
“However, many more members would need to vote before industrial action could be actioned – the law states turnout must be at least 50%.
“We therefore need your help to take forward our campaign into next year and maintain the momentum we have built together.”
Looking to 2022.
A late remit letter sent by Health Secretary Sajid Javid to the NHS Independent Pay Review Body (NHSPRB) means any pay rise is unlikely to be seen until at least June 2022.
Mr Javid warns that “the NHS budget has already been set until 2024 to 2025” so any recommendations must be affordable.
Health unions have been calling for a restorative 12.5% pay rise for NHS workers since June 2020 after real terms wages have fallen by around £6000 for an experienced frontline nurse.