The RCN has confirmed that the industrial action ballot will now be held from Thursday 6 October until Wednesday 2 November.
RCN members who are employed by an NHS employer on Agenda for Change terms and conditions will be eligible to vote on whether or not they are prepared to take part in strike action.
Ballot papers will be posted first class on 6 October 2022, and need to be received by Civica (the independent ballot scrutineer) by 12 noon on 2 November.
The RCN has also said that strike action by Royal Mail employees may cause delays to the postal service during the next few months, and so papers should be returned in good time.
Originally planned to be held from 15 September, the ballot was delayed following the death of her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on 8 September.
Commenting on news of the Queen’s death, RCN chief executive Pat Cullen said: ‘We are deeply saddened by the death of Queen Elizabeth II. She was a dedicated Patron of the Royal College of Nursing with a long connection to the nursing community.
‘The Queen visited many nursing staff during her reign and will be fondly remembered by those who had the chance to meet and share their experiences with her.
In an email sent to members, a representative of the RCN said: ‘Out of respect, the NHS pay ballot due to open next week will be delayed and campaigning should pause until further notice’.
The ballot, covering over 300,000 members, was called for after members rejected Government proposals for below inflation pay rises for nurses.
Since July, when nurses were offered an average pay rise of 4%, the RCN has been urging its members to take industrial action and to demand a pay rise in line with inflation.
Following the Government’s proposal RCN members in England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Scotland all voted to go ahead with industrial action ballots after rejecting the pay offer.
Inflation, while it has has fallen from its all time high last month, still stands at 9.9%. This has only deepened concerns felt by many that nurses will be unable to provide for themselves without an adequate pay rise.
However, under Government legislation, in order for any industrial action to be legal not only must a majority of those who vote support the action but a majority of all eligible voters. For this reason the RCN has been warning members that turnout in this October ballot will be essential.