RCN to consult nurses following the government's below-inflation pay award
Nurses are to be consulted on whether they are prepared to support a ballot on industrial action, the Royal College of Nursing has said.
In an unprecedented step, the RCN is to write to nurses about the possibility of industrial action following the government's below-inflation pay award.
It will consult with its 300,000 members to ask them whether they are ready to support such a ballot.
The government has offered nurses in England, Wales and Northern Ireland a 1.5% pay rise followed by a further 1% rise in November. Nurses want the 2.5% to be paid in full from now.
RCN rules effectively prevent an all-out strike, but nurses could still stage industrial action by refusing to work overtime.
A Department of Health spokesman said: "Clearly, any ballot for industrial action is a matter for the RCN, but the government is maintaining a dialogue with the RCN and other unions to seek a resolution following the 2007-08 pay award."