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RCN decides to hold fire on ballot over pensions action


The Royal College of Nursing has decided not to ballot members for industrial action at present, but has warned it could do so if pensions talks fail.

The RCN held a special meeting of its ruling council on Friday to decide how to respond to the government’s attempts to change the NHS pension scheme.

The changes would raise the retirement age to 66 by 2026 and force staff to pay more towards their pensions.

Having asked for feedback from members, the council agreed the RCN would not ballot immediately on industrial action, unlike unions such as Unite and Unison, which have already decided to do so.

But RCN council chair Sandra James also said balloting was “inevitable if negotiations with the government don’t provide a fair outcome for our members”.

Talks on public sector pensions between unions and the Department of Health and Treasury are ongoing.

The council also said it would support the “day of action” on 30 November being planned by the Trades Union Congress to oppose the changes.

Ms James added: “Council members have heard from thousands of nursing staff from across the UK, and are aware that anger levels are rising as nurses are hit from all sides.

“Not only are they dealing with rising living costs, a pay freeze and attacks on their pensions, but they are also dealing with a situation where they are overstretched and very worried about patient care.”

RCN chief executive and general secretary Peter Carter said: “Nurses and healthcare assistants are the lifeblood of the NHS, and they are angry.

“Their pensions have already been reformed, and are far from generous. Targeting them now is unjust and unnecessary.

“The average woman with an NHS pension takes home less than £4,000 a year – not exactly gold plated,” he said.

“Council has decided that the RCN will support colleagues on 30 November to express their anger. The RCN will be ready to ballot if this anger is not heard as we approach the end of the negotiations.”


Readers' comments (65)

  • I am pleased I am with UNISON then as at least they appear to have more balls

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  • What a surprise!!! Who is actually still in the RCN? I left about 6 years ago as they are so out of touch with reality it is unbelievable. They still think we all run around with frilly hats and cower at the site of a medic. GET INTO THE REAL WORLD RCN!!!! You are meant to be representing your membes who are sick to the back teeth of this Government and their unashamed attack on the nursing profession. Grow a pair!!!

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  • What a joke!!!!!!!

    Yet again the RCN ignore the views and opinions of their members because they are afraid of upsetting their cronies on the Government benches.

    If you are still a member, and I can`t see why anyone would be, cancel your subscriptions and join another organisation which may represent you better.(And quickly)

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  • The RCN have been the same for the 35 years I have been in nursing.
    Spineless weak,and want to please any government that is in power.
    They never have or will truly represent the nurses at the coal face.
    I dont understand any nurse who strongly feels we are being diddled with our pensions expecting the RCN to defend them they wont! frankly they dont give a damn

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  • Maz Wilson

    "Horses and stable doors" yet again from the RCN. Why wait until a decision is made that cannot be reversed, WHY is the RCN not taking action to stop the process in its tracks? Let me guess Mr Carter wants to keep in with government as he may want a New Year pressie. The RCN charge their members large annual fees then abandon them in their hour of need. I have been in Nursing for 34 years and have seen them back off every time nurses have called for action.
    Come on RCN get a backbone and support your paying members not government!!

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  • Oh and another thing Mr Carter...I have noticed lately that you are trying (but in most cases...failing) to talk the talk, but are not able to walk the walk, maybe it's time for the RCN membership to consider a ...Vote of NO confidence!!.

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  • leave this crap outdated organisation

    join a union that will at least try and fight for you

    you deserve all you get if you stay with the rcn!!!!!

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  • What a surprise! All this really does for me is confirm I made the right dicision in ending my membership and joining UNISON!....... Its like they actually want to commit financial sucide because with less people believing in them and giving them money how will they ever survive? At this rate I can only see them going into administration. Well the sooner the better for all nurses!

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  • thankyou very much RCN, this news has just given me the kick up the backside to join another union!

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  • Steve Williams

    Ooooh... Ohhhh.... Title combination please!

    Can someone tell me?

    If you get a knighthood and you are already a Doctor can you call yourself Sir Doctor... say (picking a name at random) Peter Carter (just for example) or do you have to drop the Doctor title?

    I suppose the same would go for Lord Doctor Peter Carter (for example). Doctor Peter Carter O.B.E. (for example) would be a much easier solution but not as ultimately satisfying as - for example - His Holiness, Doctor Peter Carter OBE.

    Honestly, the pompous "guy" reminds me of The Rt. Hon. Sir Joseph Porter, KCB, singing "When I Was A Lad" from H.M.S. Pinafore...

    "Stick close to your desks and never go to sea
    And you all may be rulers of the Queen's Navy!"

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