The Royal College of Nursing has asked 270,000 members across the UK whether they want to take action and strike over a combination of pay freezes and caps on pay rises. It is believed that these have effectively led to a 14% pay cut, primarily due to the increase in the cost of living.

Previously in 2014 there was a campaign to strike over NHS pay, some nurses took part, but the Royal College of Nursing did not. Now the union says that pressures in the NHS means that nurses have never worked so hard, for so little.

Chief Executive for the RCN Janet Davies said: “Years of real-terms pay cuts have left too many struggling to make ends meet.” She also added: “Nurses should not have to fund the NHS deficit from their own pay packets.”

Following the controversy over nurses striking, a Department of Health spokesperson said: “The dedication and sheer hard-work of our nurses is crucial to delivering world class patient care – that’s why the NHS offers flexible working, training and development, competitive pay and an excellent pension scheme.”

The poll of RCN members will close on Sunday 7th May, with the results being announced at the Unions annual conference later in May.

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