The RCN has announced the results of the recent ballot vote regarding further strike action have failed to meet the threshold required.
The total turnout was only 43%, falling short of the required 50%, as dictated by the 2016 Trade Union Act. This outcome means a mandate for further strike action has not been achieved.
Of the 122,000 votes received, 100,000 members of the RCN Union voted in favour of strike action.
But around 140,000 votes were needed to reach the necessary threshold.
Pat Cullen, RCN General Secretary & Chief Executive, said: “While the vast majority of members who returned their ballot papers voted in favour of strike action, we didn’t meet the 50% turnout threshold necessary for us to be able to take further strike action.
“While this will be disappointing for many of you, the fight for the fair pay and safe staffing our profession, our patients, and our NHS deserve is far from over.”
The vote was conducted via postal ballot, with all ballots required to be returned by 23 June 2023.
Eligible members working for the NHS in England were asked if they were willing to take part in strike action.
The RCN has said that the result will not prevent them from continuing to urge the government to meet their demands. They have been fighting for a fair pay deal for nurses since 2022, with historic strikes taking place, and a proposed pay deal being rejected in April 2023.
Unlike previous ballots on strike action, this ballot was aggregated across the entirety of the voting membership, as opposed to individual NHS employers. The terms of the ballot were agreed in order to secure continuing negotiations with the government. If the ballot had been successful, it could have resulted in even larger strikes than those previously staged.
Pat Cullen said: “I know staff morale is low and the staffing crisis is set to worsen without immediate action.” concluding: “We have started something special – the voice of nursing has never been stronger and we’re going to keep using it.”