Intended for healthcare professionals


Nurses vote to strike over pay, as other health workers are balloted

BMJ 2022; 379 doi: (Published 14 November 2022) Cite this as: BMJ 2022;379:o2740
  1. Elisabeth Mahase
  1. The BMJ

Many nurses across the UK have voted to take strike action in their fight for a pay rise, with industrial action expected to begin before the end of the year and to run until May 2023, the Royal College of Nursing has announced.

The ballot saw just over half of NHS Trusts in England (102 of 215) reach the 50% turnout threshold needed for strike action, while all nursing staff in Northern Ireland and Scotland will be included, and all but one of the health boards in Wales met the threshold.

The Fair Pay for Nursing campaign is calling for a pay increase that is 5% above inflation (measured by the retail price index (RPI)), which would currently mean a 17.6% pay rise.

The government has said this would cost around £9bn, as the uplift would also need to cover all staff on the Agenda for Change contract, which covers all NHS staff except doctors, dentists, and very senior managers.

Cost of living crisis

The RCN has said that nurses’ pay has “consistently fallen below inflation—a fact which is being exacerbated by the cost of living crisis—and must now rise significantly to reflect that.”

Video 1

The BMJ’s Elisabeth Mahase talks to Nicola Bailey, sexual and reproductive healthcare nurse and RCN nurse of the year 2021

The ballot, which took place …

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