Unison members would be the most likely to strike if they were unhappy with their working conditions, Nursing Times’ survey has revealed.
Of the 900 Unison members responding, 38 per cent said they would consider going on strike, compared with 26 per cent of all respondents.
If there are attacks on nurses’ pensions the mood could change
This outstripped the 37 per cent of GMB members, 33 per cent of Unite members and 24 per cent of Royal College of Nursing members who said they would strike.
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While RCN members emerged as the least militant, the results of the survey point to a hardening in the resolve of members, who have traditionally been anti-strike.
Only one in 10 respondents from the traditionally more cautious college ruled out any industrial action or protest.
But RCN head of employment relations Josie Irwin told Nursing Times: “The mood about pay is more muted resignation than militancy. However, if there are attacks on nurses’ pensions this mood could change.”
The RCN is the largest organisation representing nurses, acting on behalf of 400,000 people, including student nurses and healthcare support workers.
Unite lead officer for nursing Barrie Brown agreed pensions were a big concern, but said a range of factors were fuelling nurses’ anger, including increased workloads, service cuts, pay freezes and changes to terms and conditions.
He said the union was “treading lightly” at the moment but was in the process of developing a wider campaign around the white paper, NHS cuts and privatisation.
Unison is currently consulting its members on their concerns about service cuts and their terms and conditions.
Unison members are most likely to walk out