Nurses to be balloted on next steps in pay dispute with government

The Royal College of Nursing has lodged a formal dispute with the NHS and Scottish Government over the issue.

Nurses to be balloted on next steps in pay dispute with government iStock

A union representing nurses will ballot its members on their willingness to take industrial action amid a dispute with the Scottish Government over pay.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) lodged a formal dispute with the NHS and the Government in June.

Union leaders say the ballot will not formally authorise industrial action but will inform the next steps the RCN will take.

The union says it has concerns over the impact of wages on recruitment and retention in the profession.

Other unions voted to accept the pay deal set out by the Scottish Government earlier this year, which offered NHS workers an average wage increase of 4%.

Julie Lamberth, chair of the RCN Scotland board, said: “Industrial action is always a last resort but the current staffing challenges are causing unacceptable risks to patients and staff.

“The Scottish Government has the opportunity to do the right thing by nursing.

“I would urge all eligible RCN members to seek out the available information on what taking industrial action means and what the implications of doing so might be.

“We need each member to make up their own mind and have their say in the ballot.”

Scottish Labour health spokeswoman Jackie Baillie said: “SNP ministers made a show of clapping for our nurses during the pandemic but they clearly don’t want to put their money where their mouth is.

“Nurses have worked tirelessly to keep us all safe during a pandemic and in the growing crisis the SNP has inflicted on our NHS.

“They have long been underpaid and underappreciated, and we have a chance to right that wrong.

“Instead the RCN have been forced to take the historic step of turning to industrial action to defend their members.”