Following the minister offering job protection for some staff in return for a freeze in increments, Congress urges Council to ballot the membership for industrial action in the event of any imposition of an incremental pay freeze.
Congress today voted in favour of a resolution which calls on RCN Council to ballot the membership for industrial action if an incremental pay freeze is imposed on nursing staff.
Proposer Lisa Falconer, from the UK Stewards Committee, said the resolution was submitted after Health Minister Anne Milton reopened the discussion on incremental pay freezes when she addressed Congress on Monday.
Tracey Budding, Chair of Council’s Membership Representation Committee, said: “It is a fundamental principle that members should not act in a way that is detrimental to patients. Let me also be clear. We have never taken industrial action, but we have been pushed to the threat of a ballot.”
Geoff Earl from the Lothian branch said it was about improving pay as skills were developed, while Hilary Rowell from the Northern branch said voting against the motion will lose the momentum gathered yesterday when Congress said it had no confidence in the health reforms.
“We’re not here to vote on industrial action or strike action,” said Greg Usrey from the Greater Glasgow branch. “We’re here to vote on a ballot. It is the threat of industrial action that gets results.”
Linda Bailey, from the Public Health Forum, said it would be easy to call an extraordinary Council which could decide to ballot if necessary; and Bethann Siviter, from the South Birmingham branch, was concerned about the impact on patient care of any industrial action.
For: 438 (96.90%)
Against: 14 (3.10%)