More than 300,000 members of the Royal College of Nursing urged to vote for strike action could walk out after the union’s biggest ballot in its 106-year history.
Nurses across Scotland are expected to join their colleagues in England and Wales in industrial action with the result of the vote to be announced on Wednesday afternoon.
If it goes ahead it will be the first UK-wide strike by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) in history.
The ballot closed last Wednesday, November 2, the chief executive of the RCN warning the profession is “being pushed to the edge, with patient safety paying the price”.
RCN general secretary Pat Cullen said: “None of us wants to take industrial action but we’ve been forced into this position after a decade of real-terms pay cuts. We can’t stand by and watch our colleagues and patients suffer anymore. Enough is enough.”
Following negotiations between the Government and NHS unions, a pay rise of £2,205 was offered in a bid to resolve the dispute.
That would be roughly an 8% rise for a newly qualified nurse.
Scotland’s health secretary Humza Yousaf has said that the offer is the largest of its kind since devolution.
Last week, medical workers including ambulance staff have formally rejected the latest pay offer from NHS Scotland.
Unite the union said members have voted for strike action.
Deputy first minister John Swinney warned the Scottish Government had “nowhere else to go” in terms of offering further rises to public sector workers – despite inflation reaching a 40-year high of 12.6%.
However, Unite said that the escalation was down to “the Scottish Government failing to dig deep enough”.
Teachers across Scotland also poised to strike
Scotland’s largest teaching union is counting votes after balloting members across the country.
The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) expects to receive the result on Wednesday and its executive committee will meet afterwards to consider it and agree the next steps.
Like nurses, the teachers’ dispute is also over pay after the union branded a 5% rise as “wholly inadequate”.
The ballot follows a recent consultative ballot, where 94% of EIS members voted to reject a 5% pay offer and 91% said they would be willing to move to strike action.