Workers vow to smash Tories’ poverty pay plan
NURSES will strike unless Chancellor Phillip Hammond ends the public-sector pay freeze in the autumn Budget, the Royal College of Nursing warned yesterday.
RCN general secretary Janet Davies issued the ultimatum to Mr Hammond, saying a failure to lift the cap would leave the union no choice other than to ballot for industrial action for the first time in its history.
Ms Davies said: “We have been working as hard as we can to make the government understand that if you want a healthy health service, we need a healthy salary for our nurses.
“If the Budget does not show the government’s clear intent to remove that pay cap, then industrial action by nurses is on the table.”
Research by the union has revealed the devastating impact of the pay freeze among NHS staff, with reports of nurses resorting to food banks.
It says there has been a real-terms pay cut of 14 per cent since 2010, which is driving nurses out of the NHS in droves, causing a recruitment and retention crisis.
Figures last month showed a staggering 86,000 vacancies in the NHS from January to March, and the RCN says that nursing remains one of the lowest-paid staff groups of all public-sector professions.
Ms Davies also raised fears that the NHS could “go under” unless European Union staff are given assurances of their future after Brexit.