Nursing staff hand Fair Pay for Nursing petition to Downing Street as RCN launches ballot to gauge members’ opinions on next steps in the fight for fair pay

Posted: 8th November 2021

Original copy posted: 4 November 2021

This morning, members visited Downing Street to deliver a petition containing more than 160,000 signatures calling on the government to deliver Fair Pay for Nursing. The petition signals public backing for the continued fight for fair pay, the next steps of which will be determined by the results of the indicative ballot.

The ballot asks eligible members whether they’re willing to take any form of industrial action, such as strike action or action short of strike, or whether they’d be willing to support colleagues to take industrial action even if they wouldn’t take action themselves.

The result of the indicative ballot will not formally authorise industrial action but will be used to inform next steps in our fight for fair pay. If it is clear that enough members would take some form of industrial action, then a further ballot may be organised to take this forward.

The RCN is clear that industrial action is always a last resort, but we’re also clear that the current staffing crisis in the NHS is causing unacceptable risk to patients and staff.

The ballot will be run by Civica Election Services. Eligible members will receive their ballot email from To make sure the ballot reaches the right people, members’ details must be correct in MyRCN. Check your details now. If you have multiple employers or workplaces, let us know.

The indicative ballot on industrial action has been launched after the vast majority of RCN members who voted in our consultation said the 3% NHS pay award announced by ministers in July is unacceptable.

Graham Revie, Chair of the RCN Trade Union Committee, said: “Today our members are sending a very clear message that nursing staff as well as members of the public say the pay given to nurses is no longer acceptable.

“Those behind the doors of Downing Street cannot say they have not got the message. They can fix this now and deliver the pay nurses deserve. We have all heard fine words, but what we need now is action.”

RCN General Secretary & Chief Executive Pat Cullen said: “At a time when many experienced nurses are burnt out, exhausted and considering leaving the career they love, the link between low pay, staff shortages and patient safety becomes even more stark.

“If ministers are serious about building back health and care services, they can start to show it by delivering a proper pay rise for nursing staff. Our members know it and the public know it. Now it is time for those in Westminster to do the same.”

You can access FAQs about the ballot in England and the ballot in Wales and find out more about how industrial action is initiated, organised and safely carried out by reading our Industrial Action Handbook.

Across the UK, our fight for fair pay continues and won’t stop until our safety critical profession is respected and protected.

In Scotland, members working for the NHS are already voting on what industrial action they’d be willing to take over pay in an indicative ballot that closes on 8 November.

In Northern Ireland, we are still waiting for a formal pay announcement for health and social care staff.

Our Fair Pay for Nursing campaign aims to secure a fully-funded 12.5% pay increase for all nursing staff covered by Agenda for Change terms. How governments in the UK respond to this demand will indicate what they believe nursing staff across the independent sector deserve too.

Source: Royal College of Nursing

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