A DELEGATION from the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) representing members from across the country handed in a 160,000-strong petition to 10 Downing Street yesterday demanding a 12.5% pay increase for nurses.
Yesterday, the indicative strike ballot opened for hundreds of thousands of RCN members in a move towards what will be the first strike in the union’s 100-year history.
Outside Downing Street, yesterday morning RCN member Annette Bailey told News Line: ‘Today in Surrey and Sussex, we start our month-long campaign to encourage our members to vote on our campaign for a 12.5% pay rise.
‘We have taken cuts for so many years and it’s time this government repaid us.’
Ged Swinton, South East Regional Board RCN chair said: ‘The petition is to tell the government that three per cent is nowhere near enough to compensate for sub-inflation pay awards over the last ten years.
‘This petition and our recent consultative ballot shows the strength of feeling of our members and the public.
‘The government now has the opportunity to put this right.’
RCN member from the Eastern Region, Natalie Howe, said: ‘Our campaign for fair pay is essential to maintain staffing levels, we need to keep our nursing staff.
‘Better staffing levels are important and lead to safer levels of care.’
Graham Revie the chair of the Royal College Nursing Trade Union Committee, told News Line: ‘The RCN is here at Downing Street to deliver a petition of over 160,000 members of the public to support a pay rise for nursing staff.
‘Nurses have clearly rejected a 3% pay offer as unacceptable.
‘We have launched an indicative ballot for industrial action at the moment, we are hoping for a big turnout.
‘Morale amongst nurses has never been so low.
‘The government has no regard for nurses and they do not feel valued.
‘We are over 40,000 nurses short. We can’t get enough nurses because of the low pay.’