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RCN members to vote on gov pension deal

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) will seek member opinion on the government's final pension offer to influence the union's next move.

Speaking after the RCN meeting yesterday (10 January), council Chair Professor Kath McCourt said the union believed the government's pension proposals is the "best it can be" and there will be "no more negotiation".

Members will now be asked to accept or reject the government's final pension offer.

"Council is extremely aware of the depth of feeling from across the UK on this issue and that is why we are now asking members for their views," said Professor McCourt.

"It is critical that nurses and healthcare assistants respond to our questions, have their say and influence what happens next."

Members have been told to expect voting information to be released "in the coming days and weeks".

The RCN's voting pledge sees it back away from the commitment made in November 2011 to issue a full ballot on industrial action.

Despite the RCN believing pension negotiations have stalled, activists from the union Unison yesterday gave the green light for discussions to continue.

"I recognise this has been a difficult decision for these unions but continuing with talks on the basis of the heads of agreement is a mature response to something their members feel deeply about," said Dean Royles, Director of the NHS Employers organisation.

"Continuing discussion is positive news for patients and staff as it lifts, at least in the short term, the prospect of ongoing industrial action."

Pension talks are due to run until April 2012.