Members of the largest nursing union in Guernsey will be allowed to strike, now the Royal College of Nursing Council has given the industrial action the green light.
All that is needed now is for local RCN members to once again vote in a ballot. They will have to decide if they definitely do want to go ahead with industrial action and vote yes or no.
The RCN's Regional Direction, Lindsay Meeks, said things had only come to this point because of the year of failed discussions between them and the States.
"We never wanted to come this far. We want to be very clear, our door is always open, and we will remain in talks with the Independent Disputes Officer and the States. We have a meeting next week which really will be crucial," she said.
Pictured: The RCN had to receive the green light from four different councils in the UK before they could vote to strike - they have now got that approval.
“Nurses would have been far happier to have had meaningful negotiations with the employer but that has been too slow in happening. We are reaching the end of the line and our indicative ballot in October showed us that 92% of respondents would be willing to undertake industrial action. We were left with no other option other than to follow through our stringent industrial action code of conduct which is why we are where we are today.
“We remain open to an improved offer from the States. Guernsey nurses do not have to go on strike, but now it looks like the only thing that will stop this is the States taking us seriously. This is about so much more than pay. It is about future proofing nursing on Guernsey, making sure that nursing is seen as an attractive and viable career option and ultimately ensuring patient safety.”
Just a few weeks ago, the island's RCN members voted for industrial action to be put to the various UK councils which control their actions. That initial ballot was just to seek approval, but that has been quickly turned around and approval given. Nurses have once again emphasised that they would rather consult with the States and reach a deal, but the last deal they were offered was overwhelmingly rejected because it tried to offer senior nurses less money than juniors.
When a strike would actually take place, if the members vote for it in this last round of balloting, is as yet unknown, but Ms Meeks said they would be watching their colleagues in Northern Ireland very closely as they begin striking next week.
“Our next steps will be to start organising a ballot which will be managed externally to the RCN to allow for the appropriate levels of scrutiny. Members will be informed of the process in due course," she concluded.
More to come...
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