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RCN pension poll marred by low turnout

Almost two-thirds of nurses polled by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) have voted to reject the government's proposed NHS pension's overhaul. 

However, the relatively low turnout of nurses who chose to vote (16%) served as a “disappointment” to the Chair of the RCN Council.  

“While the members who voted expressed a clear view, showing their anger at the government proposals, we are disappointed that more of our members did not take the opportunity to vote,” said Professor Kath McCourt.

“We will now, as a matter of urgency, meet with other unions who are at varying stages in their own member consultations.”

Over 65,000 votes were cast by RCN members, with 62% rejecting the government's latest pension offer.

RCN Chief Executive and General Secretary Dr Peter Carter said he is committed to “stepping up” the campaign to make the government “change its mind” on the prospect of nurses having to continue to work until the age of 68 from 2046 onwards.

He said the physical demands of nursing should be given the same acknowledgement as the demands of the police - one of the public sector professions that will not be subject to the increased retirement age.

Dr Carter also said nurses were “dismayed” to hear the Health Secretary Andrew Lansley attributed their opposition to the proposed Health Bill to “simple self-interest” on the pension reforms.

Question: Why do you think there was such a low turnout among RCN members voting on the pension issue?