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Dates confirmed for nurses industrial action ballot

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DATES have been confirmed for the industrial action ballot for Guernsey Royal College of Nursing members.

The ballot will be managed externally by the Electoral Reform Service and run from 10 February until 28 February.

It is the result of a long dispute between the nurses and the States of Guernsey over nursing pay and rigorous scrutiny by the RCN Council to determine whether the ballot was necessary.

Members in Guernsey and Alderney who are eligible to vote will be able to have their say via the postal ballot as to whether or not they wish to undertake industrial action: if the response is 'yes' then action will take place.

However, RCN regional director Patricia Marquis said it is not too late and the door remains open for discussion.

'No one wants to take this massive step, but our members have been left with no choice.

'They have been very clear in their instruction to us: they want equal pay for work of equal value.

'They don’t feel valued, they feel demoralised and some are seriously considering whether they even stay nursing on Guernsey now. The States need to listen to our concerns and engage fully to agree a resolution.'

Guernsey members of the Royal College of Nursing raising awareness of their dissatisfaction with their pay by asking islanders to honk their horns during summer. (26984006)

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This is only the second time in 103 years that such a ballot has been undertaken.

Safety of patients remains paramount and members will not undertake any action that will put patients at risk.

Guernsey’s Independent Disputes Officer approached the Unions on Wednesday to seek resolution via a dispute tribunal.

The RCN will work with union partners to contribute fully to this process but said they will not postpone the ballot because of it.

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If a tribunal resolves the deadlock or the States come back with an improved offer and clear timetabled commitment to resolve the lack of pay equality, RCN members will be pleased to reconsider action.

Mrs Marquis added: 'Until December 2019, the RCN had never been on strike anywhere. This ended in December when nurses in Northern Ireland took action over pay and severe staffing concerns.

Royal College of Nursing members campaigned outside Town Church to raise awareness of their dissatisfaction with pay. (26984014)

'Following a short period of strike action, a new government was formed and was able to come to a settlement to end the strikes. We hope that all our members will use this once in a lifetime opportunity to have their say.'

Members expressed how grateful they were for the support they have received from the public throughout their campaign.

Nurses have been offered a 5% rise back-date to January and a further 5% back-dated to September.

P&R urged the RCN not to pursue strike action.

'It is incredibly frustrating that the RCN has been unwilling to genuinely consider even this most recent offer,' P&R said.

'The RCN says their ‘door remains open for discussion’, however their actions do not reflect this.'

Zoe Fitch

By Zoe Fitch
News reporter

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