NI Nurses To Be Balloted On Strike Action

Nurses in Northern Ireland are to be balloted on possible strike action over the ongoing pay dispute and staffing crisis.

The ballot will begin on 09 October, the first of its kind for the region.

Members of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) voted unanimously for the vote to go ahead, meaning all member nurses will be asked whether they wish to take industrial action, up to and including strikes.

There are currently almost 3,000 unfilled nursing posts across the system, with a similar level of vacancies in nursing homes, according to the union.

Pay for nursing staff within the health service in Northern Ireland continues to fall behind England, Scotland and Wales. The real value of local nurses' pay has fallen by 15% over the last eight years, whilst the cost of securing agency staff continues to rise.
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Director of the RCN in Northern Ireland, Pat Cullen said it is clear that nurses can't continue to work under the current conditions.

"The palpable sense of disillusionment and even anger amongst RCN members in Northern Ireland over staffing and pay continues to grow," Ms Cullen said.

"We all know that nurses in Northern Ireland can go anywhere in the world to work. To date, pay discussions have been unsuccessful and there is now nothing to keep our newly-qualified nurses at home. As a profession, we are no longer prepared to tolerate the risk that low staffing levels pose to patients, nursing staff, and the people of Northern Ireland.

"No nurse that I know would ever want to take industrial action but we have simply been left with no choice – it's a sad day for nursing in Northern Ireland when it has come to this."


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